Wacaco made the world’s smallest espresso machine, and it’s the size of a coffee-cup

Small enough that you can wrap your hand around it, Wacaco’s Picopresso pushes the boundaries of how tiny a coffee machine can be… while still being able to produce a phenomenally robust and creamy espresso.

You’ve got companies like La Marzocco, Breville, and De’Longhi that make the most high-end coffee machines, and then you’ve got Wacaco, a company that’s dedicated to compressing those coffee machines into their smallest possible form. Wacaco’s greatest hits include the 2014 Minipresso, which put the company on the map, followed by the Nanopresso in 2017, a smaller, better version of its predecessor. The Picopresso (highlighting its use of metric nomenclature) pulls out all stops. It isn’t just thermos-sized, it’s cup-sized. Designed to be small enough to carry in your pocket, the Picopresso lets you brew that perfect shot of espresso coffee no matter where you are.

Click Here to Pre-Order: $99

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

The Picopresso stands at 10.5cm tall, or a little above 4 inches, making it perhaps the smallest ever coffee machine to be able to pressure-brew an espresso. That means even at 10.5cm tall, the Picopresso makes a luxuriously silky double shot of cafe-quality espresso, complete with that layer of crema on top that you’d see from any good espresso machine.

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Its internal 52mm-wide basket holds 18 grams worth of coffee (enough to make a double-shot), while the water tank holds about 80 ml of water (2.7 fluid ounces). How you prep the Picopresso is no different from your countertop espresso machine. Just fill the basket with 4 teaspoons of coffee grounds and compress them into a nice puck with the tamper that comes along with the Picopresso. Then add the hot water to the water chamber and put the entire device together.

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

What’s notable about the Picopresso is that it works entirely without electricity. Its impressive inner pumping system generates 261 PSI (18 bars) of pressure to pump the hot water right through the coffee grounds, giving you velvety smooth espresso underneath. Just manually push down on the piston on the side as you hold the Picopresso above your coffee cup and the thick coffee pours through almost instantly.

The Picopresso is directly a result of the innovation kickstarted by the Minipresso in 2014, which, for its time, was the first-ever portable espresso maker to use a single hand-powered piston. Over the years, Wacaco’s worked hard at making that brewing/pumping system smaller without sacrificing taste, durability, and consistency. Wacaco claims that the newly engineered pumping system of the Picopresso is more reliable and capable than ever, giving you the possibility to extract professional-grade espressos quite literally in the power of your hand.

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Even for its small size, the Picopresso is durably built, with a rugged design that travels incredibly well. The Picopresso comes with its own travel case and everything you need to brew barista-grade espresso and even clean up after. Priced at $99 (available for pre-order on Wacaco’s website), it’s an incredibly affordable purchase for anyone who’s passionate about their coffee… plus its 2-year international warranty should really sweeten the deal.

Designer: Wacaco

Click Here to Pre-Order: $99

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Coffee Maker

The world’s tiniest functioning Game Boy Advance SP is the size of a stack of Post-Its, and it’s transparent too!

In its closed format, the FunKey S is about as small as a Tile tracker, or better still a Game Boy cartridge. Designed to emulate the Game Boy experience, the FunKey S comes pre-loaded with a whole bunch of favorite titles for endless hours of retro-entertainment. It’s tiny enough to fit on your keychain, lightweight enough to be carried everywhere, and satisfyingly just like the real deal, except smaller. Oh, and it comes in a transparent color-way too, taking you back to those good-old-days!

Click Here to Buy Now

Built right into the FunKey S are emulators of dozens of your favorite retro consoles, including the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis (Megadrive), Sega Game Gear, Playstation 1, Atari Lynx, WonderSwan, and the Neo Geo Pocket. It’s just a testament to how far we’ve come, considering everything fits within a device that’s no larger than a Graham Cracker. The mini-console comes with an ARM chip, has an SD card slot that doesn’t just run but saves games too, and a MicroUSB for side-loading your own games to play.

The tiny device looks and functions just like a Game Boy Advance SP would. Flip to open it and you’ve got a miniaturized console that’s true to the GBA experience. It comes outfitted with all the buttons (including L1 and R1 shoulder buttons), a 1.54-inch 240×240 IPS LCD screen (with a 50Hz refresh rate too), and even built-in 0.5W speakers! The console boots up as soon as you flip open the lid, and will even save your progress before powering down when you close the lid!

The FunKey S is entirely open-source, which means it even invites developers to tinker with it, modding games, building games, and maximizing the FunKey’s experience. Especially for its size, the FunKey S is a highly entertaining little gadget. I’ll refrain from calling it a toy although it almost certainly is one (especially with those candy colors), because I see it as a marvel of technology too. The gadget supports up to 128Gb of storage, which means you could potentially put tens of thousands of games into your console and carry it around with you. It comes with a lanyard hole and can easily be strung to your keychain, and at €65 ($77.5), it’s honestly an absolute bargain! Although would it be too much if I asked for an HDMI output so I could connect this to a larger screen?!

Designer: Funkey Project

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This tiny cabin looks like a minion-inspired hobbit pod for an outdoorsy glamping getaway!

It’s no secret that glamping is the best of both worlds. Nestled away in the dense forest, amidst tall redwoods and animals’ homes, your hotel room awaits. Glamping brings the joys of camping and makes it palatable for those who’d rather sleep on a plush mattress than a centimeter-thick sleeping pad– I would too. Perched somewhere in the rolling hills of Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, a tiny cabin dubbed ‘The Willow’ accommodates glampers and travelers alike inside a zany retreat that looks a lot like escape pods from old sci-fi flicks.

With two rounded roofs, The Willow’s bulbous frame stands out against the sprawling green lawn where it’s situated. From the outside, The Willow appears like something straight from a science fiction cartoon, immediately drawing in its guests with its whimsical shape. Placed right in front of the tiny cabin’s wooden deck, two circular windows punctuate The Willow’s front-facing facade and provide unobstructed views of Pembroke’s countryside. Following the larger window inside the tiny cabin, guests are greeted with an open-floor studio layout, featuring a full living area with a television and sofa, a full-sized kitchen and dining area, along with a private bedroom, additional sleeping areas, and bathroom.

While The Willow might look as tiny as glamping pods come, the unit allows room for up four guests. While the main bedroom can sleep two people, two additional single sleeping pods are built into The Willow’s frame, providing more room for two more glampers. Resembling the form of what could be a futuristic, sci-fi escape pod, The Willow offers a means for guests to get away from their busy lifestyles for a moment in the countryside of Wales.

Designer: Sky Meadow Glamping

Modest in size, The Willow features a spacious deck with enough room for patio dinners and a hot tub attachment.

Inside, The Willow features an open-floor layout with optic white dining themes and complementing natural wood accents that open up the small space.

Come dark, warm patio lights turn The Willow into a night lantern and highlight the eave’s paneled exterior.

The Willow accommodates up to four people during each stay, sleeping up to two people in the master bedroom.

Cozy sleeping pods built into The Willow’s walls can further fit two more sleepers.

Perched atop Pembroke’s rolling countryside, The Willow offers an escape to nature with all the conveniences of a hotel.

Stars dot the night sky, under which guests of The Willow can enjoy a night in the hot tub.

TinyTV DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Tiny Television

You know what the problem with televisions is? They’re too big. In the quest for constantly larger screens, our scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. I personally love eye strain. Introducing the $64 TinyTV DIY Kit from TinyCircuits, it comes with everything you need to assemble your own miniature television in five minutes and with no skill required. My kind of project!

The TinyTV DIY Kit can store up to 4 hours of video on its microSD card, which you can control with the included remote’s channel up (next video) and channel down (previous video) buttons. Or you can just do what I always do and lose the remote in the sofa and give up on ever watching TV again.

The television’s 3D printed console comes in white, but you can paint it whatever color you’d like for added realism. I painted mine brown to remind me of the very first TV, which wasn’t a TV at all, just a big cardboard box with a hole cut out and my brother inside pretending to be a news anchor. Then it was my turn to be the meteorologist! Yep, we sure had a great time last weekend.

Tiny Tents Let Your Cat Camp Out

Tiny Tents are exactly that: tiny tents with all the features and functionality you’d expect to find in a regular size tent, but measuring only 18″ x 18″ x 12″ when pitched. I mean if you can even consider assembling one of these tiny things as pitching a tent. Maybe just underhand lobbing a tent, or even casually rolling a tent.

The tents, which are available in alpine green and sky blue over at REI, retail for $20 with standard features that include two zipper side doors with zipper mesh windows, a removable rainfly, tarpaulin floor, interior stash pockets “for stowing really tiny accessories,” a mesh stargazer roof, plastic tent poles with elastic connection for easy setup, and a whopping 2.25 square feet of floor space.

Obviously, the tent makes a great pet bed for small dogs, cats, and hedgehogs, or the perfect camping accessory for the action figures I still play with. I tell my wife they’re actually extremely valuable collectibles, but she knows. She knows.

Physicists 3D Print a Boat Small Enough to Fit Inside a Human Hair

Because our scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should, physicists at Leiden University have 3D printed a tiny tugboat only 30-microns in length. For reference, an average human hair is about 90-microns in width, although mine is much thicker because I shampoo with a product specifically formulated for bears.

The microscopic printing of 3DBenchy the tugboat (a commonly printed 3D test object due to its challenging features, namely its open cockpit) was created as scientists explore the development of uniquely shaped synthetic microswimmers, and can be propelled via onboard platinum reacting with hydrogen peroxide.

So basically in the future, there are going to be a bunch of tiny tugboats cruising around in your bloodstream, monitoring your vitals and administering medicine, and helping you live longer. Of course, you know what else would help you live longer? An apple a day. And, based on my entire apple pie and half-gallon of ice cream a day habit, I should practically be immortal.

[via Gizmodo]

This Tiny Robot Beetle Runs on Methanol Instead of Electricity

When it comes to robots, most of them are powered by batteries, which in turn drive servos or other motors. But if you’re trying to build insect-sized robots, it’s tough for them to get around them without an external power source. Now, engineers have come up with a bug-sized robot that runs on methanol instead.

Image: Science Robotics

The specific energy stored in fuels like methanol is significantly higher than that of batteries, which means you need less of it to go just as far. With that in mind, Xiufeng Yang, Longlong Chang, and Néstor O. Pérez-Arancibia from the University of Southern California developed a tiny robot which can carry its own fuel, while keeping its size and weight down to something much closer to that of an actual insect. The robot beetle, aka “RoBeetle” measures just 15mm, weighs just 88mg, and can carry roughly 2.6 times its own weight.

This little dude ambles along using a catalytic artificial muscle that can flex and transmit movements to a leaf spring, which in turn moves its legs. Most of RoBeetle is made from carbon fiber, along with polyimide film, which are both very lightweight materials, and its musculature is made using nitinol, a metal that has a sort of “shape memory” depending on whether its hot or cold, along with platinum black, which works as a catalyst for the fuel, causing it to combust and push against the nitinol wire. An additional mechanism captures methanol vapor on opposite strokes causing the system to reset, causing an oscillation between its two states, and driving the robot forward. This method of locomotion is extremely efficient, allowing the RoBeetle to walk for hours between refuelling.

There are some limitations to the current design, which only allow RoBeetle to move in a straight line and forward, though you would think by creating separate fuel cells for backwards, left, and right motions would be feasible. While this approach makes sense for keeping weight and size down for miniature robots, I wonder if a similar approach could be used for larger robots.

[via Science Robotics via IEEE Spectrum]

The World’s Smallest Ham Radio Can Fit on a Keychain

Since the advent of e-mail, the internet, and text messaging, the need for amateur radio communication has definitely diminished. But there’s still a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts out there who enjoy communicating via amateur radio, also known as “Ham radio.” Most ham radio transmitters are at least the size of a lunch box, and in some cases the size of a desktop computer. But this ham radio transmitter is small enough to carry in your pocket.

Measuring just 1″ x 1″ x 0.75″, the KeychainQRP won’t transmit your voice or music, but it can send morse code signals using low-power, high-frequency radio waves when you tap on its top-mounted button. Assuming your message recipient has access to a compatible multi-band shortwave radio, they can listen to your transmissions if they’re close enough. The tiny transmitter comes in seven different amateur radio bands, and can produce a 160 milliwatt signal on a single 9-volt battery. You’ll need to attach an external SMA antenna if you want your signal to go anywhere though, and also need a ham radio operators license if you want to use one legally.

You can find all of the different frequency models of the KeychainQRP morse code transmitter for $51.99 each over on the QuirkyQRP Ham Radio shop.

HAMR Jr. Is a Tiny Robot Insect Less Than an Inch Long

As the miniaturization of electronic and electromechanical components continues to improve, so does the ability for engineers to create tiny robots. I recently came across this miniature robot that’s roughly the width of a U.S. penny, but is capable of relatively complex movements.

Researchers at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences along with the Wyss Institute for Biologically-inspired Engineering developed the HAMR-Jr, a robotic little dude that can easily fit in the palm of your hand – and tickle it while it skitters about.

The quadrupedal microrobot measures just 2.25 cm long – or about 0.88 inches, and weighs only 320 mg. Despite its size, it has eight degrees of freedom, each of which can be actuated independently using piezoelectric components. When electricity is applied to its parts, they vibrate, and when used in the proper combination, they allow the robot to walk, run, leap, and turn. This guy is also crazy fast, capable of traversing a distance 13.9 times its body length in just a second.

Thanks to its pop-up style MEMS assembly process, the design of the HAMR platform makes it possible to build versions of the robot in a variety of sizes, without major changes to its fabrication. In fact, the team had previously built a cockroach-sized version of the robot, which you can see in the image and video above for size comparison. In theory, this technique could be used to produce robots for all kinds of uses, from medical to industrial applications

[via designboom]

Tiny Arcade Q*Bert and Pole Position Games Don’t Need Tiny Quarters

I love classic arcade games from the 1980s. Not only did they define my youth, there’s just something special about how much enjoyment you were able to eke out of games with such simple gameplay mechanics. Toy company Super Impulse has been making teensy versions of 8-bit arcade games for a while now, and now we have two more to add to our collection: Q*Bert and Pole Position.

These miniature replicas measure just 3.75″ tall. They’re fully playable, and feature working game controls and a 1.5″ LCD screen. They play authentic game sounds too, and are small enough to hang from your keychain. Of course, good luck fitting your keys into your pocket now. Q*Bert is still an insanely difficult game, especially after the first level or two, so I can only imagine it being even trickier with that tiny joystick. Steering your Pole Position racer with a pinky-sized steering wheel isn’t much easier.

The entire collection of mini arcade cabinets is available over on Amazon, and with prices starting around $17, they make great stocking stuffers.