Zipwhip's Textspresso concept coffeemaker is exactly how it sounds. After texting your drink order to the one-off machine, it makes your brew and texts you back to let you know when it's ready for pickup.
How is Textspresso possible? With some clever hacking and rigging, of course. Zipwhip peeled back the panel of an off-the-shelf De'Longhi espresso machine and stuffed in components of its own, including a circuit board, a memory card, and plenty of cables.
Zipwhip CEO John Lauer credits his company's foray into text-controlled caffeination on recent advances in computing, in particular the tiny, ridiculously cheap Raspberry Pi computer that's stuffed into every rigged device.
Instead of using a $700 computing center, Lauer said, his model of Raspberry Pi cost just $25.
As important as the hardware is, software also plays a major role in making hot text-order drinks happen. A Wi-Fi connection is what lets the computer interpret text messages as brewing instructions, and text you back a response when it's done.
Believe it or not, Zipwhip isn't in the bean business. Instead, the startup builds the cloud-based platform behind the texts. Its Texspresso machine remains a prototype device for now, but if the company succeeds at spreading its message and selling its product, we could conceivably see connected espresso machines like this in the future.