The ancient tradition of brewing beer doesn't need to be complex, but that doesn't mean we can't make it complex.
Beer is composed mainly of malted barley, hops, and yeast. This piece of brewery engineering focuses on the act of malting the barley -- an extremely important step. The way the barley is malted has a huge impact on the taste of the final product.
To malt barley, you have to soak the grains in water and let them begin to germinate. Depending on the flavor you want, you pick a time to heat the grains to dry them and stop the germination process. The color (and flavor) of a light or dark beer is attributed mainly to getting this right.
Malting is an art that is often overlooked by kit brewers; we receive the correct malt with our kits, and we never have to think about it. Richard Oliver wanted to take the process into his own hands. He built a computerized malt kiln to help him get the results he wanted. His site shows his entire setup, and Oliver has posted the Arduino code for download.