By David Ponce
Let’s face it, many geeks like coffee. It’s one of those beverages whose quality can vary enormously and whose perfect execution is considered an art by some. I personally don’t really care and gulp down ashtray juice by the gallons, but the more refined of you might appreciate the PID-Controlled Espresso Machine. It’s a $400 machine that stands on par with $700+ models. And here’s why. Good espresso boils down to two things (aside from the quality of the beans): constant pressure and temperature during the entire pull. More expensive machines manage this feat through high-end components. But this project from Gleb Polyakov and Igor Zamlinsky uses an Arduino brain and a PID controller (proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller) to constantly monitor the temperature and pressure of the shot and adjust on the fly, ensuring a consistent pull every time. They had to redesign the thermoblock to suit their needs but have kept overall costs down by using off the shelf parts whenever possible.
The geeks are excited about this one, as the project has raised $341,000+ so far, even though their target was $20k. They’re on their way to being the 6th most funded project ever. And while once on the market this espresso machine will retail for $400, you can still get yours for $300 (up from $200 at few days ago). It’s going to be made and is supposed to ship in March.