Design News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gadget Freak Case #269: The Leaky Tree

Gadget Freak Case #269: The Leaky Tree

The Leaky Tree is a high-quality device designed to dispense ice and one of four mixed drinks that can be selected by the user. This device was created to quickly mix complex drinks with great precision as well as entertain the user in the process.

The Leaky Tree will conveniently pour an equivalent cold mixed drink for you with just a push of a button. It uses an Arduino mega and a PIC16F88. The Arduino Mega has nearly all of its DIO pins used and is the main brain for the entire project. The PIC communicates with the Arduino via a binary signal and controls the LCD Screen. RGB LEDs in the upper portion, ice container, and coaster light up in many colors and patterns to convey information and create a fun light show for the user.

The multicolor LCD screen on the electronics panel turns on and automatically scrolls to the first drink selection. The green buttons on either side of the screen allow the user to scroll through four different drink options. Below the drink name is a list of the included flavors. At any time, the blue ice button can be held down and ice will dispense continuously for as long as the button is held. To select the drink, the user presses the white dispense button. Then the ultrasonic sensor will check for a cup on the coaster. While dispensing, the slide and coaster will turn green.

FDA-approved solenoid valves are activated via transistors in a predetermined sequence and timing. These solenoids are normally closed and when activated dispense liquid at a predictable rate. When finished dispensing, the screen will display a finished message and the coaster performs a fast alternating pattern. To return to the start screen, the user can remove the cup and place another one on the coaster or press the ice button. An analog temperature sensor in the ice container is connected to the Arduino. A single RBG LED is located in the ice dispenser that will change from blue to red when the temperature gets too warm inside the ice cooler. The caps fit any standard two-liter bottle. The air tank in the back can be filled to between 80 psi and 100 psi by the user and the regulator brings the pressure down to six or seven for the bottles.

Do you have a Gadget Freak project you would like the world to see? Send a video with a brief description and photo of your gadget to Executive Editor Jennifer Campbell.

Check out the Best of Gadget Freak: Vol. 3 Technology Roundup to see some of the best gadgets that your peers have created.

When you are finished, be sure to check out Best of Gadget Freak: Vol. 1 and Best of Gadget Freak: Vol. 2.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.