How a Computer Programmer Hacked His Coffee Maker
Most people rely on coffee to wake up and get their job done, but the relationship between programmers and coffee is in a category unto itself. No surprise then that one programmer hacked a coffee maker in order to prompt the machine to make a fresh pot of java automatically, allowing him to get his caffeine fix without taking his eyes off of his computer. Out of all the home automations out there, this is perhaps the most clever—automating the coffee-making process that turns caffeine into computer code with unparalleled efficiency and resource allocation right from your own desktop itself.
The mastermind behind this coffee maker hack is Simone Margaritelli, who purchased a WiFi-enabled coffee maker but wasn't satisfied with the range of options the machine had to offer. The Smarter Coffee maker comes with an app for iPhone and Android devices that allows users to make a fresh pot from anywhere in their home. The machine can even be programmed to keep a coffee carafe warm all day, minimizing wasted coffee in the process. Not a terrible array of options for a coffee maker, which really doesn't need to do much more than heat coffee and spray it over coffee grinds.
But Margaritelli hacked the Smarter Coffee maker to do much more than that. To understand how the machine interacted with its phone app, Margaritelli went into the Android software to figure out how his phone and the coffee maker interacted. Ultimately, he was able to figure out how to communicate with the coffee maker directly from the terminal prompt of his computer, removing the need for a phone altogether. Handy stuff, especially when you're too lazy to get up and find your phone in order to make a fresh cup of coffee.
Margaritelli isn't the first intrepid hacker to use ingenuity to get the most out of his coffee maker. One hacker collective created a program that automatically measured how much coffee they drank during the day. In fact, the world's first webcam was dedicated to keeping an eye on the office coffee pot as well. The Trojan Room coffee pot in the computer laboratory at the University of Cambridge provided a live image of how much coffee was left in the carafe, saving its staff from that gut-sinking feeling of realizing you have to refresh the office's supply of brew. So just as coffee makers become smarter, so too do programmers and hackers. This symbiotic relationship gets more and more clever—proving that caffeine can really make anything possible.