In the new year I want to have a bit more fun with this blog than I’ve had in the past. I’m hoping to write a few more short opinion, hobby-ish, and satirical posts that offset some of the science focused nature of the blog at present. All of these are, of course, my personal opinion and don’t represent any of the views of my employer or otherwise!
I was wondering what I should write about first, when everyone’s favorite internet friend, targeted advertising, gave me a hand. In particular, Instagram’s algorithm determined that I was the kind of person that liked to spend a few 100 dollars on exotic new ways to make coffee, and the crazier the better. The algorithm certainly isn’t wrong, having personally dabbled with vacuum coffee makers, homemade nitrogen taps, and other unnecessarily complicated variants of coffee in the past, but I digress. It showed me an ad for the Spinn device, something that appears to be designed to make coffee via centrifuge. I think that’s a cool idea, but I reserve judgement on the general idea until I taste the final product! If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid!
What I don’t quite reserve judgement on, is everything around the coffee. While I’m not sure we’ll have another JuiceBro (aka Juicero) moment, I do wonder how many people out there actually wake up saying “if only I could talk to my coffee maker”. Featuring Amazon Alexa integration, I suppose we’ll soon find out, with the ability to ask Spinn to make you coffee, but presumably no ability for it to move the cup in place for you. Maybe it can store a few extra cups in its trashcan-chique design. Will people really opt to change the grind speed via the app or enjoy notifications from the coffee machine about what kind of coffee it prefers to have inside it? Maybe.
Internet of things (IoT) devices, like a wifi enabled coffee maker, being hijacked for bot nets or general mischief is certainly not new. However, I think wifi control of something like a home-centrifuge might be. Centrifuges are amazingly cool devices, but they aren’t entirely benign. They are high energy tools, and while I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the opening line of that article, that “centrifuge explosions occur frequently in laboratories”, they have to be operated and programmed with care. I personally prefer owning IoT devices that at least require a little creativity for people or our eventual machine overlords to plan my demise, but your mileage may vary. Here’s to hoping this new coffee maker Spinns its way into my heart, but not in the literal sense.