Came across a snippet today from 2007, about PopSci staff photographer John Carnett's all-in-one beer brewing machine, which "boils, ferments, chills, and pours home-crafted ale" and "can serve up to four kinds of beer at once while fermenting a fifth."
This seemed pretty awesome, so I googled the guy further and found an update from 2008, describing the metamorphosis of "The Device" into the "NanoBrewMaster," a high tech system being groomed for the retail market.
According to the Nano Brewing Tech website, the NBM (availability/cost pending) is completely computerized, handling every aspect from sanitizing to serving completely hands-free.
Upon further reflection, while this may be a pretty sweet setup for someone who enjoys drinking beer, it does sort of take the fun out of brewing beer, if it can be called that--not sure this qualifies as home brewing if all the "brewer" does is flip a switch. On the other hand, commercial breweries do a fair amount of automation by necessity, and no one would accuse them of faking it, so perhaps I'm being a home brew snob!
No doubt about it, the inventor does have mad skills to create such a device, and as an in-home bar, it's pretty cool. However, I would be curious to hear some thoughts from fellow home brewers as to whether this "counts" as home brew--seems like cheating to me (but I suppose with delicious results all the same). What do you think?