In many office environments, communal coffee is brewed periodically. But it is difficult to tell how old the contents of the carafe are (or if it’s even coffee from the day before).
Fig 1: The classic coffee carafe. No bells or whistles. How barbaric!
The carafe should be able to easily tell you the following information:
- How long since it was filled
- How full it is
- What temperature its contents are
The simplest proof-of-concept “smart carafe” would just have a small switch on the lid that would start a stopwatch on the side of the carafe. This would tell you when the lid was last opened, which would normally be a reasonably estimate for when the coffee was last made.
More complicated systems could use a floating sensor to determine the percentage filled (which would work even for liquids of other densities, in case you need a carafe full of liquid mercury for some reason) and a temperature sensor. Of course, a frosted glass window on the side of the carafe would also be sufficient for determining percent-fullness without any electronic gizmos.
Fig 2: The upgraded carafe. It’s been an hour and 24 minutes since this carafe was filled with a liquid of unknown type.
Your office should switch to the smart carafe for all future breakroom-liquid-containing needs.
PROS: The smart carafe upgrades the coffee-drinking experience from “satisfactory” to “transcendent.”
CONS: The carafe might be too smart. Did you ever see the Kubrick film 2001? Like that.