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'[OT:] Minibar ideas ?'
2004\01\10@233953 by Pedro Drummond

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Hello, friends.


Most recent challenge is to automatically detect items taken from minibar
refrigerators (as in hotel rooms). Any sensor ideas ?

I am not concerned about items being taken, examined, and put back, as long
as they were detected when taken. Of course I have had some ideas myself,
but I won't bias such a creative group.

I have heard there are already controlled minibars in some hotels. Has
anybody seen those ?

Thanks in advance.

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2004\01\11@011212 by Josh Koffman

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How about a microswitch under each thing? When you lift the item it
triggers a PIC? Or, RFID could work nicely...would require tagging all
the inventory though. If everything had a different weight, you could
measure the change.

Just some off wall ideas :)

Josh
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Pedro Drummond wrote:
> Most recent challenge is to automatically detect items taken from minibar
> refrigerators (as in hotel rooms). Any sensor ideas ?

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2004\01\11@014152 by Denny Esterline

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>
> Just some off wall ideas :)
>
> Josh

Off the wall? You call that, off the wall? Satelite locator beacons with
GPS transponders? Camera and image recognition software? How about an armed
guard with an attack dog? Now that's off the wall. Although, considering
the price of those macadamia nuts it might be justified :o)

-Denny

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2004\01\11@015229 by Josh Koffman

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Actually, I was thinking about suggesting camera with recognition, hehe.
My other thought was a trained monkey, or failing that, a trained
person, which I suppose is still a trained monkey, just more expensive.

:)

Josh
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
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Denny Esterline wrote:
> Off the wall? You call that, off the wall? Satelite locator beacons with
> GPS transponders? Camera and image recognition software? How about an armed
> guard with an attack dog? Now that's off the wall. Although, considering
> the price of those macadamia nuts it might be justified :o)

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2004\01\11@015850 by Rob Stockley

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Mount the cameras in the ceiling of a small fridge and the punters would
be none the wiser. I might still be easier to train the monkey than
write the necessary product discrimination code.

Rob

On Sun, 2004-01-11 at 19:52, Josh Koffman wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\01\11@031522 by Steve Smith

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A barcode reader !

Reverse the shop principle read the barcodes when the door is closed
hence you know what is there. This may be a little layout critical but
its simple

Steve

{Original Message removed}

2004\01\11@032144 by SavanaPics

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Afriend of mine went to one of the Westin resorts a few weeks ago. He said
they had an automated system in their rooms.  Once the bottle was removed it was
billed.


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2004\01\11@105249 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 03:20 AM 1/11/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>Afriend of mine went to one of the Westin resorts a few weeks ago. He said
>they had an automated system in their rooms.  Once the bottle was removed
>it was
>billed.

At one of the Asian hotels I stayed at recently, they rubber-stamp the
items so that you can't guzzle down half a dozen soft drinks and then
replace them at 1/5 or 1/10 the price from outside shops.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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2004\01\11@122456 by Augusto Yipmantin

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A bar code scanner reader could be a solution, but not sure about how
expensive will be.

Regards,

Augusto

{Original Message removed}

2004\01\11@123946 by Tim ODriscoll

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On Sun, 11 Jan 2004, Pedro Drummond wrote:
> Most recent challenge is to automatically detect items taken from minibar
> refrigerators (as in hotel rooms). Any sensor ideas ?

I stayed in a hotel in Rome a few years ago that knew who'd had what by
simple switches under the drinks in the fridge. The different drinks were
also always in the same positions in the fridge, so I assume they had a
lookup table there somewhere which associated each switch with a
particular drink.  Curious thing was that the fridge was only hooked up to
the mains socket and the television. I presumed it worked along with the
payTV by communicating with a central box down in reception.

Cheers,

Tim

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2004\01\11@202310 by Russell McMahon

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> A bar code scanner reader could be a solution, but not sure about how
> expensive will be.

That would have to be a mini-barcode scanner :-)



       RM

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2004\01\12@114307 by Pedro Drummond

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I heard something about a PCB tray that senses objects placed on it (and
when they are taken from it). This seems to do the job. I heard the PCB
itself would be able to sense it, with no external components. How ? Using
the object to alter the capacitance between two tracks ?






{Original Message removed}

2004\01\12@114846 by Tim Hart

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They could have used x10 to send the data along the AC line....but from what I hear it's not 100% reliable.

I can just see a desperate person using a tube/straw to suck the drink out with their head in the fridge....then filling up the drink with the same tube.  LOL....

I vote for simple switches too,
Tim

>>> RemoveMEtimspamTakeThisOuTSTOKEPOGESWAY.NET 01/11/04 11:40AM >>>
On Sun, 11 Jan 2004, Pedro Drummond wrote:
> Most recent challenge is to automatically detect items taken from minibar
> refrigerators (as in hotel rooms). Any sensor ideas ?

I stayed in a hotel in Rome a few years ago that knew who'd had what by
simple switches under the drinks in the fridge. The different drinks were
also always in the same positions in the fridge, so I assume they had a
lookup table there somewhere which associated each switch with a
particular drink.  Curious thing was that the fridge was only hooked up to
the mains socket and the television. I presumed it worked along with the
payTV by communicating with a central box down in reception.

Cheers,

Tim

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2004\01\12@135857 by Mike Harrison

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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 14:42:18 -0300, you wrote:

>I heard something about a PCB tray that senses objects placed on it (and
>when they are taken from it). This seems to do the job. I heard the PCB
>itself would be able to sense it, with no external components. How ? Using
>the object to alter the capacitance between two tracks ?

Capacitance would probably work pretty well - a bottle of liquid or a can would present a pretty
easily detectable change in capacitance. You could eliminate any hand effects by only sensing when
the door was closed.
For a situation like this where you are sensing several positions, a PCB with capacitance sensing
electrodes would provide be a pretty cheap and reliable solution, as it would be completely sealed
and have no moving parts.
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2004\01\12@141202 by Gaston Gagnon

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Pedro Drummond wrote:

> I heard something about a PCB tray that senses objects placed on it (and
> when they are taken from it). This seems to do the job. I heard the PCB
> itself would be able to sense it, with no external components. How ? Using
> the object to alter the capacitance between two tracks ?
>

Look for "Charge-Transfer Touch Sensor" from Quantum Research Group Ltd

Gaston

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2004\01\12@213401 by stanton54

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Mike Harrison wrote:
> You could eliminate any hand effects by only sensing when
> the door was closed.
Darn. That would mean you'd have to leave the door open while you
refilled the bottle. A waste of electricty, no?

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2004\01\13@033833 by

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When talking about computers and minibars, this nice item
should not be forgoten :

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~vance/www/vaxbar.html

Enjoy !

Jan-Erik.

> {Original Message removed}

2004\01\13@172710 by al smith

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I think its in the delivery system.  If each item was in a rack...that if
the rack bar was released to take a product out, then first you would know
if it was accessed, second using an IR beam you know that it was removed and
third because you know what rack was accessed you know what product was
removed.

It has mechanics associated but would not allow the user to put it back
empty, sort of a one way delivery system.  If removed by accident, call the
desk and let them know so you wouldnt be charged.  Use a network interface
to send the data to the front desk.

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2004\01\14@004818 by Pedro Drummond

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At first I thought of something like a cage with solenoid-controlled gates.
When you decide for a Coke, you point the TV remote inside the minibar,
press the code for the Coke, and the solenoid releases the can.

Then I thought this was overkill. A tray sensor will do the job in a cheaper
way, I think.





{Original Message removed}

2004\01\14@122655 by Tim Hart

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Sounds like a vending machine to me.....they could just put small vending machines in each room?

>>> EraseMEmicro_eng2spamHOTMAIL.COM 01/13/04 04:25PM >>>
I think its in the delivery system.  If each item was in a rack...that if
the rack bar was released to take a product out, then first you would know
if it was accessed, second using an IR beam you know that it was removed and
third because you know what rack was accessed you know what product was
removed.

It has mechanics associated but would not allow the user to put it back
empty, sort of a one way delivery system.  If removed by accident, call the
desk and let them know so you wouldnt be charged.  Use a network interface
to send the data to the front desk.

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Find high-speed  net deals   comparison-shop your local providers here.
https://broadband.msn.com
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