mr java at work; photographs by Webb Chappell

Mr. Java
Michael Hawley, Jofish Kaye and Nikos Matsakis

Mr. Java is a coffee machine of the future. It recognises you, and then feeds you both the bits and the atoms in the arrangement you like.

We call arrangements of bits names like 'weather', or 'news'. We call arrangements of atoms names like 'latte' or 'cappuccino'. Mr. Java associates your preferences for these arrangements with the tag on your coffee cup, and serves them both up at the same time.

The user places their cup under the spout, as usual. The reader located under the spout reads the tag on the bottom of the cup and transmits the result to a computer. The computer would then issue commands to the Acorto to make the appropriate drink, and play the associated RealAudio feed through the speakers.

Mr. Java integrates the best coffee machine in the world - a $20,000 Acorto 2000s - with Swatch Access RFID technology. Behind Mr. Java is a simple concept: we now have the technology to have devices that can recognise you and each other, and associate information once recognised. A microwave can recognise a packet of frozen Danish and cook it for the appropriate length of time. A car can recognise you by your key fob and adjust move the seat back for you. You can walk into any coffee shop in the world and wave your watch at it: it recognises you, gives you that espresso that you need so badly, charge your account back home and even give you a 'frequent flyer' discount for drinking so much coffee.

If you'd like to see more technical details on how Mr. Java is constructed, please visit our Technical Documents Section.