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Last call for coffee

Last call for coffee

The problem

Once a day the time comes, where the kitchen-service-team will be (more or less) active, equip the dishwasher and disassemble the coffee machine.
The service-team will or will not walk all around the office to find all dirty dishes left on the tables and the rest of the (coffee-drinking) coworkers might find out later frustrated that they missed the time and now can't have another coffee.
So we have potential for frustrations on both sides.

The idea

The simple solution is to inform the team that the coffee machine will be disassembled in a couple of minutes.

So there are now two reasons to go to the kitchen.
Its the perfect moment to bring your dishes there and show that you like to embrace your social responsibility plus you can get your last coffee of the day.

The solution 

The first approach was to hack an amazon dash-button but because we wanted to give feedback to the - let's call him 'pusher' - that's not a perfect usecase.

For our beta 1 we gave a shot to the little bits kit, that was already waiting for a purpose for months.
This gave us a button, that at least could play a pre-configured sound.
When connected to if-this-then-that via an integrated wifi-module and linked to an appropriate action it could additionally call an URL.
This URL could then be on our server and do anything, that we wanted it to do (and was technically possible - instant rainbows still don't work).
The script found at that URL now sends a little reminder mail to a defined contact list ( - this should be only coffee drinkers in the future). It however sends the mail only after 16:45 and only once a day.

Just the second day showed that whatever has been programmed, the "coffee bot" also brings in an unpredictable component, which might spam you with mails when it feels like that.
Let's just interpret this as "personality" :D

The living object

The beta version isn't visually totally pleasing but works - mostly.

The future

Oh there's so much more I could think of.
In case that the lc4c-system ever will be allowed to evolve, there are some steps that would be most important.
Here's a mindmap including some ideas, like:

  • Mails only reach coffee drinking hivers
  • The "alert" can be heard mostly everywhere in the bureau. That could be achieved by wifi-speakers or dedicated PCs. Or a giant GONG of course.
  • The system looks better - no cables, not necessarily in a paperbox
  • It shows the remaining waiting time
  • It can act differently, depending on the time it is activated
  • The system doesn't run wild...
Some ideas

The vision

While a dashbutton is sexy regarding the simplicity, a fully interactive device would offer a lot of additional usecases.
Imagine we use a fully equipped tablet. We can add an touch-interface with the button that can already show, if it has been clicked or if it will send a mail. It could be voice activated and could react using stefans bot-logic and text-to-speech algorithms. It could be motion- or sound-activated. It could play some music or show recipes.

It could be the head-element of a huge sculpture made of now05-books, that occupies the hive.
Well that's a long way to go. Let's stick with the black paperbox for now.

Vision: Print goes digital/ The REAL Coffee Bot

Vision: Print goes digital/ The REAL Coffee Bot

The reality

FOLLOW UP: beta 2

Well. Obviously the Little Bits aren't made to last. In the moment, where the wifi doesn't connect anymore, all interactions of the coffee Bot are cut off.
So now you'll find a beta 2, for now running on an iPad in the kitchen.
An e-ink display would definitely be better.

The beta 2 is a webApp that in the future could be opened from any desktop.
The tablet could alternatively be connected to a bluetooth speaker system for additional reach.
Have a try at staging.orangehive.de/lastCallForCoffee.
(As long as it says "unarmed", there won't be sent any mails.)

Let's see, how that works...