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The Javabot Combines Engineering and Coffee

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the there-is-nothing-wrong-here dept.

Toys 165

WormholeFiend writes "The Javabot is the coffee machine of the future — completely next generation. It is the fully-automated system that runs the Roasting Plant Coffee Company in New York and its design is illustrative of what can be achieved using new thinking and methodologies to something that was previously regarded as a black art. The system is part of the experience because the coffee system runs throughout the shop. It's the first walk-in coffee machine in effect, and customers sit there and watch as their coffee beans rush past in pneumatic tubes, as they move from storage bins to staging, roasting station, grinding and a brewing machine where they are dispensed with the repeatable accuracy of a purpose-built machine. Customers can choose from any blend of seven different beans and every aspect of the process is controlled."

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Nice and all but... (5, Funny)

CarAnalogy (1191053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092886)

...does it run java?

Re:Nice and all but... (2, Informative)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093444)

Not all that nice. After roasting, beans need 8-12h in open air to emit CO2, otherwise you end up with sour coffee (due to carbonic acid). Also, after the CO2 evaporates, it's generally agreed that a rest period of 4-7 days brings out the best flavor in roasted beans. Two machines would have been a better choice.

Re:Nice and all but... (3, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093908)

According to TFA, they have storage for unroasted beans, and roasted beans, to allow them to sit to 'degas', as they call it. Roasted beans get dumped in the top of a cylinder, slowly making their way downwards as 'degassed' beans are pulled from the bottom and more roasted beans are added on top.

In a nutshell, 'they already thought of that'.

Re:Nice and all but... (1)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094728)

I don't see what impressionism has to do with any of this.
Get it? Degas?

Re:Nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094110)

Nice thread hijack! And 'informative' mod out of the deal, well played.

Re:Nice and all but... (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093704)

Given

A supervisory PC sits at the top of that system, managing Roasting Plantâ(TM)s drink- and roasting-related databases. The PC also gives the system a nice graphical user interface.
and the little schematic they gave, I would venture a guess that they coded it in G [wikipedia.org] . Though personally, I never really enjoyed programming for LabVIEW, I much preferred SimuLINK in MATLAB.

Re:Story Just One Big Advertisement (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094352)

Thanks for the free add.

Re:Nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094684)

Surprisingly enough, it runs COBOL.

Re:Nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23095032)

...does it run java?

No, it develops in it. A javabot is low-paid, low-skilled code monkey who develops business apps in the manner of just hacking away until the stack traces stop.

Dilbert (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092894)

Does it look like this [dilbert.com] one [dilbert.com] ?

Re:Dilbert (2, Informative)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093794)

Does it make coffee as good as this [girlgeniusonline.com] one? (Requires a little more reading than Dilbert to make sense of everything but well worth the effort...)

Re:Dilbert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094856)

Hey, glad to see another Girl Genius reader out in the wild.
Posted anonymously because one of you dickwads will mod me as "Offtopic". Even though I'm clearly responding to someone else's comment. Asshats...

Now we just need (4, Funny)

fredrated (639554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092924)

a machine that drinks coffee, and we can take people out of the equation altogether!

Re:Now we just need (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093518)

They will still need people for energy production.

Re:Now we just need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094650)

Cylons! Uh oh.

Java bot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23092926)

And it's written in Perl, right?

This is what it looks like. (3, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092950)

Really!

Full color illustration here! [girlgeniusonline.com]

Re:This is what it looks like. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093672)

You don't want to drink that coffee. Trust me. Well, no, it doesn't taste bad, but...

Cubicle? (1)

bostongraf (1216362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092956)

Can they make this into a cubicle version?

Picture a new aspect of configuring your office's network being that you have to lay out tubing for all of the cubicle coffee dispensers...

Re:Cubicle? (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093092)

Just get a personal coffee roaster and a grind & brew coffee maker. I know, I know. You want pneumatic tubes. Who doesn't? But a personal hot air coffee roaster can be had for $80+, while a grind and brew can be had for $100 and up. The result is the same, even if it's not as fun to watch.

Re:Cubicle? (2, Interesting)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093230)

Is there a way to do that without annoying half the people on my floor?

Re:Cubicle? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093556)

Ahh, hadn't even thought about that. Probably not, the roaster and grinder are both quite loud. I suppose you could buy them all noise cancelling headphones...

Re:Cubicle? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093824)

That, and roasting coffee in an enclosed space has the aroma of burning popcorn :/

Re:Cubicle? (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094658)

That, and roasting coffee in an enclosed space has the aroma of burning popcorn :/

...and it can set off smoke detectors. Screeching alarms won't endear you to your coworkers.

Re:Cubicle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093420)

So you can have acrid coffee smell but I can't smoke cigs?

No roast on demand (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092972)

It says that they do not roast on demand because the beans need time to "cool and out-gas". I haven't done my own roasting before, so I was wondering how necessary that really is. If it's just dangerous gases to worry about (??), why not use suction to draw them away? Is there a way to speed up the cooling process, assuming it's really necessary?

Anyone know?

I love coffee.
-l

Re:No roast on demand (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093124)

I thought out-gassing was what happened in a vacuum, and off-gassing is what occurred within an atmosphere.

FWIW, Sharpie marks don't out-gas once dry (an odd bit of trivia you may need when deciding what to use if you every want to tag anything on the space shuttle)

Re:No roast on demand (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094582)

I thought out-gassing was what happened in a vacuum, and off-gassing is what occurred within an atmosphere.
It might even be the other way around. Out-gassing or off-gassing, I don't know which one applies to the sysadmin but after a trip to the mexican buffet, his office door is to remain closed.

Re:No roast on demand (3, Insightful)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093136)

Having tried roasting a small batch of coffee beans myself, and doing the attendant research prior to doing so that any engineer would do, I understand that coffee just roasted doesn't taste as good as coffee roasted yesterday. It needs time to outgas some volatile compounds, not dangerous, just bad tasting. I suppose you could draw a vacuum to speed up the process, but it might be excessively complicated and still take too long. I'm not sure.

Re:No roast on demand (1)

joshmccormack (75838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094230)

You really need to give this a try. I'm not purely objective, as I'm working with them on something, but let me tell you, beyond any cool factor, the coffee is exquisite. On a regular cup of black coffee the crema is so thick you'll think it's cappucino, and you get an amazing taste without it having to be so thick it's like mud. There's no sourness or bitterness. Where you'd at first think someone crazy for starting a new coffee chain when Starbucks so dominates the industry, after trying this you'll wonder why you've never had decent coffee before.

Re:No roast on demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094244)

Many try to make a science of what is an art. Yes, the beans do need to rest, but there is no exact amount of time. Coffee is a crop that differs from region to region and year to year. I've been home roasting for 5 years now and have seen coffee's from the same plantation peak anywhere from 2 to 5 days after roasting. The only way to tell the amount of 'rest' a roasted coffee needs is to experiment with the particular crop in question.

Re:No roast on demand (3, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093278)

It's not a toxicity issue, the gas is CO2. The issue is the flavor it imparts to freshly roasted beans. How major an effect it has probably varies from palate to palate. I've roasted my own coffee and gotten all kinds of results even though I've tried really hard to be consistent. Allowing the bean to out gas does seem to make a better cup but I say that with the proviso that I've never done a full-on double blind study to see if it's true or if I'm fooling myself.

Your idea of de-pressurizing the bean might work but before I went to the expense, it'd be worth doing the double blind to ensure it's necessary.

What makes the biggest difference is the quality of the bean. I've roasted Vietnamese beans that were god awful and Costa Rican beans that were sublime. Green beans come in all kinds of shapes and colors. The Vietnamese beans I sampled were a motley lot of various shapes in the same bag whereas the best beans have a consistent color and shape within the same bag. The color varies from region to region so there isn't a 'right color' as you can find good coffee in all shades of green.

One problem with this guy's business plan is dealing with neighbors who object to roasting coffee. I generate quite a bit of smoke when I roast my piddling pound of coffee and I have to wait until the wind is blowing away from one of my neighbors who has lupus. I can well imagine all sorts of problems trying to roast in a congested area.

Roasted vs Roasting (2, Informative)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094426)

The smell we all like in good coffee shops is the smell of roasted coffee. On the other hand, the smell of roasting coffee is borderline horrible. It has that burnt coffee overtone we associate with bad gas-station coffee sitting on hotplates in those round glass pots.

Re:No roast on demand (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093364)

FWIW, I roast all my coffee. ( go sweetmarias! )

The gasses aren't dangerous, it's mostly just C02. They just make the coffee taste off. There's been a bunch of discussion on how to speed up the process in the homeroast community, but the conclusion everyone inevitably comes to is that it's impossible. The beans need time to develop their flavours and get rid of the off-taste of CO2. Takes about 24hrs or so, depending on the beans & roast.

Re:No roast on demand (0, Redundant)

dmd53 (1269344) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093394)

If it's just dangerous gases to worry about (??), why not use suction to draw them away?

From Wikipedia:

"Volatile organic compounds (VOC), organic acids, and combustion products are the principal emissions from coffee processing... including alcohols, aldehydes, organic acids, and nitrogen and sulfur compounds. Because roasters are typically natural gas-fired, carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions result from fuel combustion."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_roasting#Emissions_and_control [wikipedia.org]

I can only imagine it would be better to consolidate the emission control systems for roasting and subsequent de-gassing, rather than have separate systems for the roaster and the bean storage.

I'm no organic chemist, but the byproducts listed above sound poisonous at high levels. Regardless of the safety risk, however, I can only imagine that coffee snobs would frown upon their gourmet beans mingling with random aromatic hydrocarbons and sulfur compounds-- these don't sound too appetizing, regardless of the health risk.

I'd imagine that messing with the cooling process would subsequently mess with the nature of the oils and byproducts formed, again altering the flavor. Further research would be needed to support this claim.

And now for a shameless endorsement: I bought an Aerobie (R) Aeropress to accomodate my coffee needs in close living quarters (read: frat house). To date, it is the quickest, cleanest, simplest coffee apparatus I've ever used, and produces a sweet--yes, literally sweet-- and aromatic espresso/latte/Americano that surpasses the local Seattle's Best or Starbucks by a mile. It's cheap and available from multiple sources, and I recommend that every coffee fanatic here tries one before investing in a more expensive coffee/espresso rig--especially a walk-in one.

Re:No roast on demand (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094838)

Concerning the Aeropress, it looks like an upsidedown french press. How is it any better?

Re:No roast on demand (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093494)

why not use suction to draw them away?

Coffeemakers don't suck!

Re:No roast on demand (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093830)

Coffeemakers don't suck!

No, but vacuum baggers do... and if it has the attachment for mason jars, I bet you could out-gas your beans pretty easily.

I'll try it with my next batch.

Re:No roast on demand (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094074)

Frankly, whether it's giving off gas or taking it in, I don't know, but coffee peaks between 2-4 days after roasting. If you try and brew it straight after roasting, it has an unpleasant bitterness that goes away after a day or two. After that, it just gets stale. I'd strongly recommend trying home roasting - brings it up to a different level. However, you may not ever like Starbucks again...shame.

0 comments yet.... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092980)

... and already slashdotted. Whoda thunk that a post about a fully automated coffee machine would cause a geek stampede.

Re:0 comments yet.... (3, Informative)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093050)

In that case, here's a link [roastingplant.com] to the actual coffee shop that runs the Javabot

Re:0 comments yet.... (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093342)

I'm thinking you could roast some coffee beans on that server right about now.

The Coffepot webcam... (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093668)

...caused its own stampede, when it first went online. The Cambridge Coffeepot was perhaps the most famous webcam - and certainy the most famous coffeepot - on the planet for many years. This proves the neoclassic CaffeGeek Theorum which states that (extreme chaos) = (geek quotient) * (caffeine)^2, or e=gc^2. Einstein was close to discovering this, but falsely assumed that he could use the brain's mass rather than the geek quotient, leading to his incorrect conclusion that e=mc^2.

Slashdotters dream? (1, Funny)

baudilus (665036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092982)

If you put computer terminals in there, and little tubes that drip coffee directly into your mouth, some slashdotters would never go home.

Dilbert had it first (0, Redundant)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23092988)

Re:Dilbert had it first (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093108)

Oddly, Steve, I did it first! [slashdot.org]

You know that Saint Stephen got stoned, right? Now you must face the wrath of the redundant mods! Sorry dude.

-Steve

Re:Dilbert had it first (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094202)

Dammit, I scanned the comments to see if it had been done. Duh.

Compatible with IETF RFC 2324? (4, Funny)

archer, the (887288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093018)

Here it is. [ietf.org]

Low tech is better than high in things coffee (3, Informative)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093030)

Skyshadow's Law: The more complicated the coffee maker, the worse off you are.

The best cup of coffee I've ever found is from a little coffee shop near my wife's office in San Francisco (I won't say the name, but it's near the SoMa Caltrain station). They make their excellent brew in a decidedly low-tech way:

Each customer chooses the type of coffee they want or (and this is a better option) tell the barrista to use their judgement. The beans are scooped up, ground and then poured into a very conventional filter basket along with enough water to produce one cup of coffee.

And that's it -- the best cup of java you're likely to find made by probably the lowest-tech possible method.

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093146)

The best cup of coffee I've ever found is from a little coffee shop near my wife's office in San Francisco (I won't say the name, but it's near the SoMa Caltrain station).

Why won't you share the name?

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093158)

Go lower tech, and even tastier with a French press [coffeegeek.com] . Do mind the cafestol [wisegeek.com] though.

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (1)

LeoDavinci578 (795523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093290)

I worked at my parents coffee house for 5 years, and I have to agree. As far as lattes go, I have yet to find a automated machine that can do the job better than I or other skilled baristas at steaming the milk. It is part science part art.

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093362)

So, basically similar to a French press, then.

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (2, Informative)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094504)

Not really -- french press coffee tends to have a very different character than filter coffee. This is filter coffee, just in individual servings.

Re:Low tech is better than high in things coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093732)

I just started with my Aeropress, so I have to reply. Even though this is not an Aeropress article, the writer raves, with good reason. The thing is amazing and simple. The best cup of coffee is now in my kitchen.

Does it Run Java? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093040)

Of course it doesn't run Java!

If it did, the coffee machine would need 15 mins to start, require all the beans to be named a certain way, the path to each individual bean type explicitly defined in the CLASSPATH, and would freeze for 20mins doing garbage collection, usually at the most inappropriate time.

Re:Does it Run Java? (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094534)

Wow, that sounds exactly like the behavior of the standard issue coffee shop employee.

Krispy Kream (1)

abolitiontheory (1138999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093058)

So this is just the coffee version of newer Krispy Kreme [msn.com] stores? I'm excited. I'd love to go visit.

Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (0, Flamebait)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093062)

I have never understood the appeal of coffee.

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093206)

Bitter isn't the same thing as bad. I've come to appreciate some bitter beer styles like IPA's. Your palate may need to adjust or trained. But if willing, there may be culinary rewards for you.

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094810)

Well GP will definitely hate this [beermad.org.uk] . I don't work for them but it's pure insanity in a glass (in a good way).

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093214)

I'm guessing that oral sex is definitely out of the picture for you, then, huh?

Why would that be? (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094750)

Does your pussy taste like coffee?

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093624)

Indeed, coffee smells far better than it tastes, but it is a fairly low calorie caffeine injection.

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094570)

And I'm the one with terrible karma? Wake up, mods!

Re:Uh, what bitter, nasty shit. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094978)

The best things in life tend to be a bit bitter or astringent or have some sort of strong flavor that isn't well appreciated by all. Black coffee, dark chocolate, pale ale, dry wine, skunky herb, smelly cheese, etc etc. All of these have flavor components that might be unpleasant, but in the right context to an appreciative palate they're truly wonderful. Try to expand your horizons, and challenge your palate a little bit. The alternative is a bland, flavorless life.

Why bother? (1)

WaltherPPK (1267864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093142)

Just feed it straight to my veins.

unwise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093170)

Eliminating all human labor is unwise and ultimately self-destructive. Delegating "black arts" to highly reproducible mechanical processes goes against esthetics and homogenizes into blandness the infinitely variable human process it replaces.


This is all just shallow thinking to maximize short-term profits. In that sense, it is just plain dumb, albeit in a spectacular bling-blingy sort of way.

Re:unwise (1)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093198)

The race to the bottom, like so much else we do.

Ah, a luddite. How cute (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093552)

Eliminating all human labor is unwise and ultimately self-destructive. Delegating "black arts" to highly reproducible mechanical processes goes against esthetics and homogenizes into blandness the infinitely variable human process it replaces.

This is all just shallow thinking to maximize short-term profits. In that sense, it is just plain dumb, albeit in a spectacular bling-blingy sort of way.


Ah, a luddite. How cute.

I've got news for you. Your standard of living, or that you can afford to spew pretentious words on Slashdot instead of being out in the fields with an ox-drawn plough, is because things like that already happened.

E.g., look at the clothes you wear. There's been quite the movement against mechanical looms in the 19'th century. In fact, that was _the_ original luddite movement. Turns out that it wasn't self-destructive or short-term after all. Previously you'd have maybe one set of clothes, total, for a decade. And you'd stitch and patch them when they broke, because it would be too expensive to buy a new set.

E.g., the fact that they're clean. Previously washing the clothes was a very time-consuming manual process, and it wouldn't be done anywhere near daily. If you enjoy pulling a clean new t-shirt out of the drawer daily, or a pair of socks, or underwear, or whatever, then roll it around in your head that people used to just wear the same clothes through mud and dirt and whatnot for quite a while.

E.g., if you enjoy a nice office job with a computer, it's only because agriculture got heavily mechanized and a small number of farmers can feed the rest of society to do better stuff. We used to need 5 peasant families to support a knight. Maybe also add a burgher family, although those were a lot fewer than that actually. Almost three quarters of the population used to be out there ploughing dawn to dusk, just for subsistence, in the good old days of non-mechanized manual labour. By sheer probabilities, chances are that would be your lot in life, if we still were at that point.

E.g., for that matter, read that again: dawn to dusk. Literally, that was how the acre was defined: the surface that a peasant with one ox can plough in a day, from dusk to dawn. That would be your daily schedule, for 6 days a week. Not to keep some cushy office job by putting up with a PHB's demands for overtime. That would be the _normal_ schedule, and just for subsistence.

E.g., enjoy all that free TV and free content on the internet and whatnot? Well, that too is because society now makes enough of a surplus, that marketing can blow on subsidizing those in exchange for ads. Previously your only entertainment would be the pub, sitting and listening to the same stories around the fire, and maybe a village dance on sundays. Don't think even books, because those were quite the uber-expensive things before Gutenberg went and made it a "highly reproducible mechanical process".

Etc, etc, etc.

Turns out that none of that actually made us any poorer. We just end up producing more, and affording to divert more work into entertainment and services.

Re:Ah, a luddite. How cute (1)

PenGun (794213) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093798)

I'll just point out that the most amazing parts of this planet are where the humans are not. The quality of the environment is inversely proportional to the number of humans in the area.

  Still I do get to these places on my dirt bike. ;).

Ah, a llibertarian, How cute (2, Insightful)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093850)

You can't see much further than your immediate surroundings. Forget the 19th century or the pre-industrial era. They're gone. Think of all the happy-cool things you mention in your post and who actually creates them, not the executives who run the companies but the workers who do the actual labor. They compete not against each other but against ever more powerful and low-cost automated systems.

I agree with the notion that much work needs to be automated, some things arguably must be automated. However, people must work. Carrying the practice of automation to its complete ultimate conclusion is foolish and self-destructive. We are not in a resource-abundant era like the one you describe, we are in a resource-scarce era. There are not enough resources on the planet for there to be a middle-class in China proportionately as large and as consumerist as in the US. Not enough metals, fuel, plastic feedstocks, lumber, wheat, etc. More automation will not magically reverse this, and would slow down the creation of acceptable jobs. It would probably be better to create human-operated machines that maximize human employment, not minimize it.

Your comparison with Luddites is certainly obvious, not to mention cliche, but is inapt due to the vastly different historical circumstances between then and now.

Re:Ah, a llibertarian, How cute (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094320)

For a start, I'm nowhere near libertarian, and in fact I hate that ideology. But the world isn't that neatly divided. At any rate, what matters is whether my ideas are right or wrong, not what convenient label you can put on them.

There are not enough resources on the planet for there to be a middle-class in China proportionately as large and as consumerist as in the US.


So basically, someone else should be poor (and for no other fault or merit than being born in China) so you can be rich? It's such a self-centered egotistical attitude, it's not even funny. Most people at least pretend to have more empathy than that towards their fellow man.

Not enough metals, fuel, plastic feedstocks, lumber, wheat, etc.


Actually, there's certainly more than enough wheat around, and we the West have been working hard to get everyone else to destroy their agriculture to make them buy our subsidized crops. Wood can be produced as a _crop_, and mostly is. Metals, depending on which you mean, are everywhere and mostly limited by the energy to extract them. There's certainly no shortage of iron, at least. Etc.

E.g., the USA didn't get to depend on foreign ore and oil because it's poor in those, but because it simply was cheaper to buy them from third world countries than to pay someone to extract them at home. I fail to see how automation there could possibly make it worse.

Now I'm not saying that those resources are free, but there certainly is enough of them, so as not to justify that kind of "the Chinese should stay poor so we can stay rich" attitude.

Not to mention that even for that kind of blatant imperialism, maybe if China mechanizes, then it can dig up more ore for the West and sew shoes faster in those sweatshops. So even by that self-centered kind of view, what do you have to lose?

More automation will not magically reverse this, and would slow down the creation of acceptable jobs.


Acceptable by what criterion, pray tell? Ultimately the worth of any job is what you can buy with those money. Producing more stuff, including by mechanization, raises the worth of that job. "Creating jobs" by just making people cut the grass with scissors, just makes everyone poorer.

The standard of living of a country, or the "wealth of nations" as Adam Smith put it, is pretty much measured by how much you produce and how well that fits what the people want to buy. That's pretty much it. Of course, nowadays that means a lot more services too, but same idea. Just "creating jobs" for the sake of keeping people occupied doing things inefficiently, isn't really improving anyone's lot. It's just a way to push some resources off a cliff, for no benefit to anyone. Even if it were only human resources, it's nevertheless just shunting some work to /dev/null so to speak, instead of using it to improve the overall standard of living.

Having finite resources is already included in that. Yes, you have finite resources, including humans, which was always why you don't have an infinite production. But what matters is what you do with them. And even there we can do better.

Even if China would never get as many resources as the USA, mechanization can at least free more people to do more for society than working for subsistence. Maybe then they can afford more services for example. If less guys are needed to dig ore out and farm rice, maybe more guys can be used to, say, deliver pizza, or make movies, or be doctors and keep everyone healthier.

Standards based robots (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093178)

But is the Java bot compliant with personal Java spec revision 123342.432687 from RFC 5 Robotlabs certificate B?

not particularly new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093180)

Not a particularly new idea, but it all takes effort to make it happen. I thought something like this might be good for bars too (wine + beer).

A related idea was Gravity Cooking, where the food drops down a tube , a long tube, and gets cooked this way or that way as it drops through different "areas "(chopping, frying, adding spices, combining, what-have-you ....)

Stephan

Re:not particularly new idea (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093258)

Hey must be some slashdot bug, since I was logged in (as sugarmotor) when I wrote that... Stephan

Roasting? (1)

LeoDavinci578 (795523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093250)

The site was down, so I couldn't actually read the article, but roasting takes a fair amount of time to get right. From the summary it made it sound like it was doing micro roasting for every drink. Roasting also smells pretty... weird, I wouldn't call it a bad smell but it doesn't smell like the finished product either.

There have also been machines around for a long time that do everything including steaming the milk, although much smaller. They are called super automatics in the industry. http://www.wholelattelove.com/reviews.cfm?ItemID=1130#reviewfaq [wholelattelove.com]

Not saying this isn't cool, but I don't think you'll see most coffee shops doing this.

Re:Roasting? (0, Redundant)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093408)

The roasting is done daily, to allow the beans to 'out gas'.

Most of what the Javabot does takes place on demand. When a customer orders the coffee, the beans shoot from the storage bins over to the grinding unit and drop down into the brewing machine. It takes only about 30 sec to convey, grind and brew the coffee beans.

The roasting process, meanwhile, usually takes place daily but not per individual beverage. "The beans need time to cool and out-gas after roasting. Most people wouldn't want to wait around that long," says Michael Hodor, Roasting Plant's head of technology. So after roasting in small batches, the beans are conveyed into the storage bins, whose tubular shape and bottom-mounted metering system ensure the beans exit on a first-in, first-out basis.
....
Scaling up the Javabot won't likely prove to be too big a deal. "It's been designed for scaleability from the beginning," Youney says. His software, for instance, has all the hooks needed to add more coffee machines and bins. "The software even has a whole bunch of features we didn't use in the prototype," he says. These include Web-based ordering, customer profiles tied to bar codes and a slick roasting scheduler that uses fuzzy logic to predict demand patterns. And the modular design of the bins, with their self-contained metering systems and on-board microprocessors, allows the system to grow with a few extra tube runs.

Caswell says he plans to take full advantage of that scaleability as he opens new Roasting Plant shops. "Another nice thing about automation is that it allows us to replicate our concept over and over again," he says.

Re:Roasting? (1)

pestilence4hr (652767) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093432)

The best cups of coffee don't follow immediately after the roast, so if they are brewing immediately after roasting, it is gimmick only. Most coffees taste best when brewed somewhere on the order of 12-24 hours after roasting. My understanding is that this is because the reaction continues after you remove the beans from heat.

Such a thing as TOO fresh. (3, Informative)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093262)

Let me get this straight...the coffee goes from green bean to brewed cup in the matter of (tens of?) minutes? Any true coffee connoisseur knows that "the coffee attains its peak 4 to 24 hours after roasting." Ref: http://www.sweetmarias.com/ [sweetmarias.com] and http://www.coffeekid.com/ [coffeekid.com] and alt.coffee.

 

Re:Such a thing as TOO fresh. (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093476)

That's why the roasting is done daily and not per individual cup. See my comment [slashdot.org] to the person above you.

Re:Such a thing as TOO fresh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093566)

So you take the time to list references but not actually read the article you are refuting?

Re:Such a thing as TOO fresh. (1)

Wavebreak (1256876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093614)

The grinding and brewing is on-demand. The roasting is done daily in small batches, and the roasted beans are in fact stored for around a day before use.

Ah, progress (1)

zumajim (681331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093284)

Cool. So then I can take my perfectly roasted coffee to my office and put it in the piece of sh*t Mr. Coffee machine that looks like it hasn't been cleaned since the Vietnam war. Ah, progress!

Do not compete (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093310)

Roasting Plant is the brainchild of Mike Caswell, a former engineer for Starbucks, where he worked on supply chain and operational efficiency projects.
If he signed a do not compete contract, he might be screwed. If he didn't, how can I invest in his company?

Another mention... (2, Informative)

CyberDong (137370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093314)

With a couple pictures...

http://www.bornrich.org/entry/walk-in-for-a-cuppa-coffee-from-javabot

Walk-in Bong (3, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093328)

Someone should open a store that does this with marijuana instead of coffee. I think total automation so the consumer doesn't have to do anything but suck in the nifty chemical would go even better with potheads than wired coffee addicts who need something to do with their ampup.

Something like this would put Vancouver on the map.

Re:Walk-in Bong (1)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094928)

Something like this would put Vancouver on the map.
I think Vancouver is already "on the map" in terms of marijuana and it's related recreational consumption.

Re:Walk-in Bong (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23095062)

That's why I picked Vancouver. It's like I made a Cheech and Chong stoner joke.

but... (2, Funny)

aeskdar (1136689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093340)

But does it run Linux?

We are lazy... (1)

Xenaero (1223656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093352)

...When we require our coffee to entertain us while it is in the process of brewing.

one more term.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23093410)

Textbook/profs in the future will have to distinguish one more term: Java, Javascript, JavaBot...

To the coffee connoseuirs (1)

bostongraf (1216362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23093422)

Fear not! This is NOT a roast on demand. But it is a system that lets you see the whole process.

Pneumatic tubes connect these storage bins to each other as well as to the micro-roaster and automated grinding-brewing machines. Roasting its beans in an off-the-shelf micro-roaster, it occupies an entire store front. Although all this sounds a bit complicated then the usual in-office coffee vending machine, Javabot too works professionally on demand. When a customer orders the coffee, the beans shoot from the storage bins over to the grinding unit and drop down into the brewing machine

Prior art? (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094158)

I remember playing an game from a Commodore 64 (128?) magazine where you manually controlled an assembly-line-style coffee machine with a conveyor belt; it looked a good bit like this, except the pipes were for cream and sugar and stuff. The more things change...

Performance of the Javabot (1)

texwtf (558874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094162)

The Javabot will take forever to start, consuming all available power.

The Javabot will run fast internally, and everyone will talk about how fast it is, but in actual observable output will be slow.

The Javabot will be marketed to run everywhere, but for the first several years of its existence will really only run in one or two places. Other bots do this already, but for some reason it's only the Javabot that gets noticed.

The Javabot will collect its own waste (garbage) so it theoretically will use less power than other bots, but in reality will consume orders of magnitude more. Mini Javabots will be available which don't consume their own waste and also don't consume much power, but will be ignored.

The Javabot will succeed by force of marketing power alone.

The Javabot will be marketed as having the best usability of any bot, but will actually require several versions of itself before being relatively useful.

The Javabot will require multiple versions of itself to be present to perform all necessary tasks.

The Javabot will need to be informed of where all its parts are in order to run- not in a general sense of "The parts are in the bin", but rather "part A is in the bin", "part B is in the bin", etc.

Because the Javabot doesn't use enough power by itself, it will be embedded inside other bots, such as database bots.

The Javabot will consume power while not on, and will need to add to itself periodically.

Different features of the Javabot will have really cool names like 'JBEE' and 'JavaBotBeans' which explain absolutely nothing about what they actually accomplish. One of the functions of the Javabot is to periodically come up with "new" features.

Javabot will run "standard" XML but only be able to exchange data with one other vendor using it. Marketing will make sure Javabot's method of "cross platform" data exchange is used instead of other actual cross platform methods.

Javabot will push itself down your throat and you will like it, you heathen!

(only slightly bitter)

What the article NEVER SAYS... (3, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094578)

...is whether the coffee produced by the Javabot tastes good.

Never. It talks about "machine of the future," that it's purpose is "to produce the most flavorful cup of coffee available," efficiency, control, etc.

It does not say whether that purpose was achieved.

The writer does not say that he tried some coffee made by the Javabot and that it tasted good.

The writer does not quote anyone who says they tried some coffee made by the Javabot and that it tasted good.

www.roastingplant.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23094580)

FYI the site for the company is http://www.roastingplant.com

I've been there. (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23094590)

It's a nifty place. A couple of points: The summary makes it seem like you can choose your own blend to go into a drink that you order on-premises. Not true. They have pre-filled tubes with their "Roasting Plant Blend" and a bunch of single-origin coffees, and you can choose any one of those for them to make an espresso with. If you are buying beans to take home, of course you can get a little bit of the Papa New Guinea, a little bit of the Ethiopian Harrar, a little bit of the... and make your own blend, but it's not like the Javabot is doing the blending for you. I like their "Roasting Plant Blend" a lot and pick up a half-pound to bring home with me to use in my AeroPress. If you're in NYC and a coffee freak it's worth venturing there for the novelty, but be sure to stay eagle-eyed as you place your order, because the whole "beans being sucked through the tubes into the espresso machine" process is so fast that you just might miss it.
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