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Yank fires up iPhone-controlled beer cannon

Greatest. Invention. Ever.

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A Virginia Tech university graduate and a couple of chums have come up with what one YouTube commenter rates as the "Greatest. Invention. Ever" – an iPhone-controlled beer-dispensing cannon.

Ryan Rusnak, 25, first rigged up a bog-standard refrigerated beer vending machine to dispense refreshment at the touch of his Jesus Phone.

Dissatisfied with having to physically retrieve the can from the machine's tray, he and Graham Phero decided it would be "awesome" if the device could fire ale directly to the customer using compressed air.

Accordingly, they added a ballistic beer unit to the mix, and after a few prototypes and several high-velocity mishaps, they triumphed:

The beer cannon uses an ioBridge 204 micro controller which allows thirsty but indolent drinkers to control the cannon via a dedicated web server and iPhone app developed by pal Josh Lilly.

The fridge contains four types of beer, uses a webcam for aiming, and fires beer at 50 psi. The beer cannon also apparently tweets every time it chucks you a beer.

Although the set-up is currently password-protected to ensure no illicit beer-throwing, Rusnak said: "The cool part of the micro controller is that, in theory, anyone could log in and control the fridge. Our next big idea is throwing a party, people could log in and throw cans of beer at us." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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