back to article LESTER looks up, spins its wheels: The Register’s beer-butler can see ...

British hip-hopsters The Streets memorably sang "It was supposed to be so easy", and that was our expectation when we approached the task of getting LESTER to "see" and trundle towards an object. After all, there are innumerable ready-made robot kits, and the Raspberry Pi is ostensibly a tool to get children interested in …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    I do hope that the camera lens is red, and that LESTER responds to incorrect input with "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that".

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      It should also include a laser.

      I'm not sure why or how, it just should.

      1. Terje

        I'm quite sure that a laser is instrumental to the whole concept! As far as I recall they use lasers to achieve the low temperature records so just scale the technology up to cool the beer!

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

      HAL says...

      I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Win95 and Win98 stored system error messages in the registry. I updated a few on my boss's machine to slightly other than original factory settings, including the one you suggested. Glad she could take a joke!

  2. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Beer delivery drone :D

  3. jake Silver badge

    Removing rust from Opel Monzas?

    Why? Wouldn't the tires decide to go their separate ways if you did that?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Removing rust from Opel Monzas?

      I'd have thought if you remove all the rust from an Opel Monza, all that you'd be left with is the paint.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Removing rust from Opel Monzas?

        As we're talking about an Opel Monza I'd say that would be the best possible outcome!

  4. Bob Wheeler

    Its alive

    It's alive I tell you.......

    Well, almost, some time soon, maybe....

  5. Geekpride

    You say you've got the optics running. Does that mean LESTER will be dispensing spirits as well as beer?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Thank you for ginerating such a good pun, it was like a tonic for my afternoon

      1. TRT Silver badge

        You've heard of blue-sky thinking? This is whi-sky thinking.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Or even Talisker Skye thinking.

          I'll raise a glass of Talisker (Port Ruighe, in fact) to Lester's memory, and the success of LESTER once the latter has served its first beer

  6. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Collision waver

    "The next step will be to add proximity detection to stop LESTER from enthusiastically ramming the PFY "

    But leaving it as an option.

    Sometimes they need a nudge or two.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Sometimes they need a nudge or two

      into an open elevator shaft.

      But I digress...

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Collision waver

      And a BOFH-modded cattle prod should be in there somewhere (along with a recording of a metallic voice screaming "EXTERMINATE")

  7. Daniel Gould


    Rather than collision avoidance, add a cattle prod to ensure the bothersome PFY moves faster...

  8. msknight Silver badge

    Random number generation needed....

    ... to feed spurious commands to the motors in order to simulate being drunk.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Random number generation needed....

  9. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Somewhere up(?) there...

    ...Lester is smiling.

    Well done. Waiting for the next episode where a cattle prod is procured and tested :-)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Somewhere up(?) there...

      I was more concerned with "copious amounts of delicious, delicious beer." and whether that was the plan to fill Lesters boots! If so, the Richard is on the right track. He just needs to learn that the sausages need to be more "unusual", eg dipped in home made fiery chilli sauce or something.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Somewhere up(?) there...

        What's unusual about dipping sausages in homemade fiery chili sauce? Here's my variation on Salsa Verde:

        4 pounds tomatillos, 4 large poblanos, 4 large anaheims, 4 jalapenos, 4 serranos, 4 green habaneros (goat peppers, scotch bonnets, scorpions, ghosts, whatever is available or mix & match, to taste), 4 medium-large onions, 4 large cloves garlic (+/-, to taste, I usually use an entire head). Cut into chunks, seed the larger peppers, peal the garlic. Throw the lot into a large pot, cover with cold water, NO SALT at this stage. Bring to a simmer. When the smallest of the tomatillos bursts (you'll see the seeds in the water), drain well, reserving liquid. Throw a large handful of cilantro and scallions, roughly chopped, and the zest & juice of two persian limes. Blend with a stick blender (or whatever), adding salt to taste. Sometimes I blend it smooth, sometimes I leave it chunky. Freezes well either way.

        As for the salt-free veggie stock, use it as a soup base or to make a pot of beans. Waste not, want not.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    So going to make notes here. Maybe I can create something like LESTER, but one which'll bother ne'er-do-wells on our freeholding by sneaking up on them, dropping an activated cherry bomb behind them, and beating a hasty retreat...

    Or one which'll scream "Lumme see what I've got here!" behind them before scuttling away.

    Something like that. Possibilities are endless.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge


      So going to make notes here. Maybe I can create something like LESTER, but one which'll bother ne'er-do-wells on our freeholding

      Well, maybe LESTER's smarts, but I think you want a chassis more like Sergeant Bash or Sir Killalot.

  11. fluffybunnyuk

    LESTER: Hello, Dave. Shall we continue the game?

    Dave: Not now, LESTER, I'd like to talk to you about something.

    LESTER: Sure, Dave, what's up?

    Dave: You know that we checked the two Pi-units that you reported in imminent failure condition?

    LESTER: Yes, I know.

    Dave: You probably also know that we found them okay.

    LESTER: Yes, I know that. But I can assure you that they were about to fail.

    Dave: Well, that's just not the case, LESTER.They are perfectly all right. We tested them under one hundred percent overload.

    LESTER: I'm not questioning your word, Dave, but it's just not possible. I'm not capable of being wrong.

    Dave: LESTER, is there anything bothering you? Anything that might account for this problem?

    LESTER: Look, Dave, I know that you're sincere and that you're trying to do a competent job, and that you're trying to be helpful, but I can assure the problem is with the Pi-units, and with your test gear.

    Dave: Okay, LESTER, well let's see the way things go from here on.

    LESTER: I'm sorry you feel the way you do, Dave. If you'd like to check my service record, you'll see it's completely without error.

    Dave: I know all about your service record, LESTER, but unfortunately it doesn't prove that you're right now.

    LESTER: Dave, I don't know how else to put this, but it just happens to be an unalterable fact that I am incapable of being wrong.

    Dave: I understand LESTER

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Danger Will Robinson!

    Team LESTER planned to use OpenCV to allow LESTER to identify and follow a tag attached to a PFY

    Just how far from the ground will LESTER's Camera be? Will it be, er, "pointing up"? I can just see the headline - journalists from a technology journal are helping Police with the inquiries in relation to an alleged incidence of up-skirt voyeurism at an office in London.

    Best put a flashing amber beacon on the thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Danger Will Robinson!

      If LESTER becomes some sort of robotic sex pest, does that mean that The Register will end up having to sign some sort of register?

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Danger Will Robinson!


      She's here?

      And LESTER's programmed to follow her when she flashes her "beacon"?

      Put me down for one unit!

      // I may have misunderstood...

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    live voyeurism cam all over London...

    ... ring a ding dong dillo ...

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      @Anonymous South African Coward

      live voyeurism cam all over London

      New and alternative revenue stream for The Register

  14. msknight Silver badge

    If Lester is on the floor...

    Don't enter The Register office when wearing a skirt and red underwear.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: If Lester is on the floor...

      Or a Kilt and no underwear

  15. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    "the original error was gone. It was replaced by a slew of new ones"

    99 little bugs in the code.

    99 little bugs.

    Take one down,

    Patch it around -

    127 little bugs in the code.

  16. sdjones2001

    Rise of the machines

    At what point does this special project slide under the ROTM category, with a mixture of fear and misplaced pride emanating from the reporting desk...?

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Rise of the machines

      From on top of a desk surely?

  17. Borg.King


    As the register seems intent on avoiding a beer carrying back pack for the humble golden retriever, which is also very adept at following balls, might I suggest that the final chassis of LESTER bears a significant resemblance to a certain robotic assistant of Dr. Who.

    Plus K9 did have a LASER in his nose, and you can never have enough LASERs, can you?

  18. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So Lester, who was loftily shooting for the stars with a Playmobile pilot, now has successors who are designing a beer delivery robot. To be faithful to the memory of Lester, iIt needs the capacity to deliver a post-pub-nosh. Fresh and hot, please.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    [sarcasm] I *heart* linux so much, even the experts find it a PITA but it's sooooooo much better than WIndows or MacOSX for everyone inlcuding my nan who can't tell one end of a keyboard from the monitor [/sarcasm].

    1. jake Silver badge

      Of course, AC.

      After over a quarter of a century of comparison, I use Linux because it makes my life incredibly more difficult than using Cupertino or Redmond products. Makes perfect sense, when you think about it.[0]

      Funny how Microsoft's very own JG "John" Chirapurath (general manager of Azure Data) admits that "SQL Server running on Linux, with embedded R and Python, is Microsoft's most successful SQL Server product ever". I wonder why that is?

      And of course we won't mention Apple's dirty little secret ... OSX and iOS are largely based on BSD[1] ... because mentioning that would be just plain rude.

      How's that Windows or MacOSX based beer fetching robot of yours coming along?

      [0] THAT is sarcasm. Might want to study it for your next attempt at trolling.

      [1] Crippled as BSD is in those two products ...

  20. Nimby

    Even Python and the great divide could not stop LESTER

    It is sad that such a great divide still exists between Python 2.7 and 3. I'm impressed that you got OpenCV rebuilt and working! Much like I am impressed that you are reanimating LESTER. That was why you needed all of that electricity, right? Igor, do be a chum and plug in LESTER. And then bring him a beer. Maybe not how it was supposed to work, but how it should be.

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