LG lands dual-shot coffee maker inspired by "wonders of space exploration"
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have helped bring many garage projects to life, but more and more companies are using them to sound out ideas for future products. The latest is from LG in the shape of its first capsule coffee machine.
Looking like a teeny lunar lander and launched on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the Duobo from LG Labs is designed to allow folks to tweak their morning cuppa to taste by blending two types of capsule coffee, with a companion mobile app used to control parameters like temperature, pressure and volume.
The journey starts with the user selecting any two Nespresso-sized capsules and popping them in the upper body of the machine. Water is pumped into the built-in boiler from the 500-ml tank and heated in around 30 seconds to the temperature set via the app.
The hot water then moves through a three-way valve to two chambers, each of which extracts and blends the coffee in the capsules according to the user's settings. A two-shot extraction is reported to take around 40 seconds, and the blended espresso or lungo is pushed out below to the waiting mug, with the app even allowing for height adjustment of the legs to better match the size of the cup below.
The Duobo measures 11.3 x 13.3 x 12.4 in (28.8 x 33.8 x 31.4 cm) and weighs in at 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), and features LED status indicators on the base plus Bluetooth 5 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. For some reason, the platform on which the three-legged beast stands also includes a 10.1-inch Full HD IPS display so that coffee enthusiasts can enjoy "entertainment in high resolution" between shots. The development team plans to introduce themed content down the track, though there's obvious scope here for serving up advertisements too, as well as a community portal for sharing recipes.
For folks who need blending inspiration, suggestions from "six of the world's top baristas" are on hand, and though the device is compatible with pods from various brands, LG plans to offer capsules for direct purchase through the app at some point in the future.
One thing that isn't mentioned in the promo materials is the generally wasteful nature of this disposable capsule-based approach to personalized coffee making. Though refillable pods are available in stores, and some makers produce recyclable capsules, many spent pods will undoubtedly still end up contributing to our global waste problem, which isn't good news for anyone.
"Duobo is truly an innovative product, redefining the entire coffee experience from the art of crafting and savoring the perfect cup to establishing meaningful connections with our valued customers," said LG's Lee Hyang-eun. "With our unwavering commitment to excellence, we will strive to offer unparalleled customized solutions that cater specifically to each individual’s preferences, ensuring a personalized and delightful coffee journey where customer participation plays a vital role."
Kickstarter pledges for LG's quirky coffee maker start at US$399 – a saving of 50% off the suggested retail price. The usual crowdfunding cautions apply, but if all goes to plan with the already funded campaign, shipping is estimated to start from December.
Source: LG Labs