A Swedish student at the University of Oxford has hacked a Raspberry Pi to improve the management of a student-run bar on the campus, Wired reports.
Johan Paulsson is pursuing a PhD in theoretical physics at Oxford's Wolfson College, so naturally a well-run bar is important to him. The service at Wolfson College bar, being run entirely by student volunteers, was "completely and utterly inappropriate," Paulsson told Wired UK.
So he hacked a Raspberry Pi to send sales data to a MySQL database, which is used to coordinate supply with sales and warn staff of stock shortages or price changes from suppliers, Wired reported. Sound levels on the bar's Sonos sound system are controlled for specific rooms through the Raspberry Pi, and Paulsson told Wired that he's currently working to create a playlist stored by the Pi and reproduced on the bar's website so people can track down songs they liked while they were there.
Paulsson also programmed the device to coordinate the volunteers that make up the staff - sending out emails to those who have volunteered in the past, reminding volunteers of shifts they've signed up for, and so on.
According to Wired, the Raspberry Pi is capable of a handful of other functions, such as identifying the bar's most frequent or highest-spending customers, or even dispensing beers when ordered.
"We could see which user in college is down in the bar most often, but I don't think they would be particularly happy to be called out on that," Paulsson told Wired.
As for rigging the Raspberry Pi to automate the drink-pouring process, Paulsson says the legal implications are a bit too murky for him to try it, "even though it would technically meet all of the legal requirements."
It's one of the more unique uses of Raspberry Pi, which has been gaining publicity lately as more uses have surfaced. Network World's own Bryan Lunduke has discussed two ways it's capable of bringing back retro video games on their intended controllers, for example.