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Coffee Drones Just Got More Real, and We're So Here for It

Photograph by Twenty20

Imagine if a coffee drone could bring you a cup of hot coffee not only when you order one, but even before you realize you need one. It sounds like the answer to many moms' prayers, doesn't it?

Well, the good news is, coffee drones don't have to exist only in a Dilbert comic strip anymore. IBM invented a coffee drone and filed a patent that could bring coffee (or another caffeinated hot drink, if you're more into tea) to someone flagging it down. It could also use an app, plus facial- or voice-recognition software, an electronic ID tag or Bluetooth from a phone to get that cup of joe to the right person. Through the data it collects, it might even learn the person's drink preferences and know that she's going to want a coconut hazelnut latte.

The company's vision is to have drones swooping in to save a low-energy employee's day in the office, or maybe as a means of increasing sales at coffee shops. But we're thinking something more like instant morning, mid-day and get-the-kids-to-bed cups to get moms through the finish line faster. No long coffee shop lines with an impatient toddler. No wasting time making your own coffee just for it to get cold because your child needs to show you something right this instant.

Sounds amazing, doesn't it?

Also, drinks would be delivered in "leak-proof" bags, so don't worry about a boiling hot beverage landing on you or your family's heads.

According to the patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (complete with diagrams you just have to see), the camera-equipped drones can also predict who needs caffeine stat. The technology would gauge pupil dilation, facial expressions or, if the user agrees, even assess someone's recent sleep quality through something like Fitbit, their electronic calendars and other biometrics to assess when someone might need coffee.

Although we can see how this part of the plan can backfire, because if you're checking on factors like moms' sleep schedules, pupil dilation, facial expressions and blood pressure, let us tell you now, that drone will literally be dropping off coffee every minute because moms are perpetually tired.

Look, we get that this is only a patent for now, and who knows if IBM will really make the patent a reality? But hey, if Amazon is trying to make delivery drones work, we can dream about hot coffee delivered right to our hands.

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