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Why Juicero’s Press Is So Expensive (bolt.io)
484 points by pccampbell on Apr 24, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 367 comments



I'm not a mechanical engineer, but it seems like a roller would be able to provide a more efficient and focused method of squeezing than a press they're using now.

What we see in most products is a result of the accountants saying "no" to too much. Cheap parts, assembled cheaply, pennies saved per part. What we see here is the exact opposite: the accountants didn't say "no" nearly often enough. Apple manufactures custom everything because they can, and because they sell at massive scales. Juicero wanted to be Apple quality without selling at Apple quantity.

I fully believe you get a better cup of juice squeezing with their massive press rather than by hand because it can press over a bigger surface. I also believe it doesn't matter a bit, because this is a worthless piece of equipment. Beautiful engineering, though.


I am a mechanical engineer (a machine design engineer in fact) and this press looks like would happen if you hired 30 of 23-year-old me fresh out of college, gave them an effectively unlimited budget and said "make me the swankiest press you can imaging". Lots of clever ideas and fancy machined parts with no thought for cost savings or whether there's an easier way to do something.

15A 330V DC motor? To squish a bag of pulp?

The best things I've gotten career and skill wise from more senior engineers has been the feedback where they looked at a design and said "looks fancy, but what were you thinking?".

This machine looks like it needed some more grizzled manufacturing veterans to inject some sense into the design process.


I think you've also just well described so much of startup software development as well. Great ideas, a grand pool of undiluted computer science theory, nobody going "why do you need 120 servers to run a webpage?"


> Great ideas, a grand pool of undiluted computer science theory, nobody going "why do you need 120 servers to run a webpage?"

I actually untangled a mess like that (only it was some 200+ VMs on 20 fancy HP blades + SAN to serve 5000 users daily), don't even joke about it.

If you arrived with something the size of a semi-trailer to squeeze some juice people would likely ask you if you're all ok in the upper department but if you do the same in computer land they call you 'architect' and promote you. So much of that complexity is hidden and your average business owners have no clue what is required and what is overkill.


So why is it then that 23 year old engineers are building everything in SV? It certainly explains a lot about what I see happening there.


They have less to loose (already broke), are not accustomed to nice things (never experienced a real salary), and are enthralled by startup culture (so they'll accept shit equity and work all night).

There's also a bias in which ones we read about. Nobody puts the age of a 40 year old founder in a headline.

I think PG wrote an essay on why ycombinator started out primarily accepting new graduates, but I can't find it right now. Clearly he had a different take.


Hiring ten 23 year olds and paying for 20 servers is cheaper than hiring five 40 year olds and paying for 3 servers.

It only becomes a problem when you need to stop burning money, because you can't easily reduce the hardware cost.


Also have to take into account that hardware is ridiculously cheap nowadays. You can rent quite a lot of raw computing power with the salary of one engineer.


Not to mention one engineer can spin up and operate a big horizontally scaling cluster.


23yo engineers are often also willing to bunk up with three friends in a two bedroom apartment, which makes living in SF/SV more feasible. Once you have a family (generally, older engineers) you generally dont want to be sharing an apartment, so your minimum salary requirements go up.


I love how everyone always words this like it's perfectly reasonable to expact a salary that has you living like a college student and unreasonable to ask for a salary that lets you live like an actual grownup who worked hard and took some risks to get expertise.

Do you guys actually feel that way or is the startupspeak getting to us?


> I love how everyone always words this like it's perfectly reasonable to expact a salary that has you living like a college student and unreasonable to ask for a salary that lets you live like an actual grownup

If I interpret your parent post correctly, their opinion is than it's not at all reasonable to accept such low salaries.

It's just that there are apparently more than enough fools who do it anyway, until they learn that this is both unwise and unsustainable.


This is exactly what the parent poster (me) was suggesting!


It just comes down to the math of living in a high cost/high compensation area. Your standard of living is highly dependant on the ratio of high economic productivity earners in your unit.

I know plenty of young engineers who are easily socking away 60 - 70% of their post tax income because they basically need a futon to sleep on and a macbook and don't really have many needs. After 5 years or so, they'll have half a million in the bank free and clear which is hard to do anywhere else in the country.

Now add it a spouse who works in non-profits or is a schoolteacher or any other job that's not tech. Now your expenses have risen 2x but your collective earnings has only risen 1.3x and now you're only saving 20% of your income.

Add in a kid and your expenses go up another 50% and your income rises not a jot and all of a sudden, you're in the hole and heading into debt.

Low cost/low compensation locations completely flip this equation around since there's no huge disparity in earnings and large families are less of a relative strain.

Neither is intrinsically better or worse than the other, they simply suit different lifestyles better.


Salary shouldn't be dependent on (desired) living conditions, but on experience and value added. Likewise, living conditions shouldn't depend on salary - as in, you should be able to afford a decent apartment on minimum income anywhere in the country.


> you should be able to afford a decent apartment on minimum income anywhere in the country.

I think most people would love to live in a world where that's true but it's pretty far from where we are.

> Salary shouldn't be dependent on (desired) living conditions, but on experience and value added

That's leaving out half of the equation: value added sets the upper bound for what a company can afford to pay you but they're going to negotiate down to make a profit. The seller has the same maximum cap but they're going to negotiate up and fixed costs are a key part of that – since in reality food, housing, education, etc. costs vary widely people who live somewhere like SF are going to factor that in because the alternative is moving somewhere less unbalanced.


Except in Juicero's case, the cause wasn't 23 year old engineers, but outsourcing to celebrity designers and engineering firms.


Because most of the time hardware is cheap and building it quickly but inefficiently is better for the business than hand-aligning your opcodes to use the fastest part of the drum memory.


The great sadness to me is that incentives in architecture almost encourage this... Hardware is cheap and good designers are few. So when guys like you can come in and squash down the complexity,, company thinks it won twice (first time for delivery.. Wow look how fast it is!; second time for efficiency)


I strongly suspect there was more at play there (huge kickback to one of the people ordering the hardware). And no, the customer didn't think they won twice, the first time almost killed them. For all those goodies it still did not perform. You really wonder how they managed to burn all those cycles.


I've worked professionally in both fields now, and luckily mechanical engineering seems to have a much less toxic attitude towards for older engineers. The amount of ways an experienced engineer will know not to do something is mind boggling and I am definitely still learning.


There's a truth about this in software too. It's just not recognized.


I feel like I'm saying No all the time. A boss and a couple coworkers have commented on it over the last couple jobs. But how many times do you really want to relive the same predictable emergency?


Time to learn the magic of "yes, but...".


Yes, elec engs are essentially hobbyists until completing their second decade in industry. Then, watch out!

Most places I've been realize this, but a few, hint mainly sw shops, think 5 years exp suffices. And they suffer arching in pain. It hurts to watch.


Not just startup development. The entire software industry, aside from a very select few, seems to me to be plagued with this sort of immaturity.


You can be immature going the other direction, too. "We need to squeeze every last cycle of performance out of this server before we buy another one."

Well, sometimes you do (when it's someone else's hardware, perhaps). But often, happiness is a middle ground.

Most hardware goes through phases, often planned far in advance: The expensive first version to get something out the door, then a series of cost reductions (bring many chips into a single custom chip, ditch unused features, get new vendors for subsystems) which improve profitability.

That juicer looks like it was designed to withstand a direct hit by a bunker buster. Nobody gave a damn about profit margins or ever making it cheaper, I think they just wanted to IPO or get bought.


Well sure immaturity exists in every axis. I've seen "performance zealots" seriously suggesting moving a perfectly functional internal flask based API into some obnoxious, bloated Java Spring something or other to squeeze performance out of it. The thing served approximately 1 (internal) user at a time at a rate of less than 1 request per minute on average and was a read-only API. Flask was just fine for the purpose.

I've also been guilty of this in my younger days, where I was very much "C++ all the things because performance." But that's kind of my point: it's immaturity at work, here.


Well, sure, that's because this industry has spent the last thirty years growing like gangbusters. Give it some time to settle down and you'll see the mix of newbies to veterans balance back out again.


Everywhere I look, engineers are over-engineering everything. I just don't get it.


There's a few reasons for that

* no one ever got hired for under-engineering

* a lot of people have died from under-engineering

* you never notice how much was engineered juuuuust right (tm). Because it was. Just. Right.


There's a large social component, too: beyond simple resume-driven development engineers get social status by doing interesting technical challenges. You rarely see a project make the front page of HN, for example, because it has a really polished UI and great documentation.

Since that's what the community generally respects and focuses on, people seek out areas to add complexity – who wants to work on a boring “solved” problem? – and, especially younger engineers, often feel they have to do things the same way Google or Facebook does (it's web-scale!) even if they have 0.001% of the engineers and 0.000001% of the traffic. It's easy to miss that most people with similar problems have so much less volume that they aren't forced to do the really cool (i.e. expensive) engineering and, since they're using something stable, it's not considered interesting enough to talk about it.


>> * no one ever got hired for under-engineering

I've bought plenty of low end products from China that I'm sure were intentionally designed as cheaply as possible with no regards to quality.


That's not the same as under-engineering. They simply engineered for a different target. The engineering of the product is only part of the issue. The bigger issue is engineering the entire production system. They may well have optimized for maximum return on investment in the factory, not maximum quality for your headphones.


This fact underpins so much inanity fundamental to modern life nowadays D:


"An Engineer can do for a dime what any fool could do for a dollar."

One of my favorite instructors from college.


How would you, given what you know now, do this better? Not saying you can't, just curious what your experience has taught you to do differently.


Just to be clear, I don't want to claim expertise I don't have: I'm only just a bit past that stage in my career and have had a lot to learn in the past few years.

Just a stream of consciousness set of notes from my reading of the article though:

* The design of the interior machined parts looks like a classic case of why machinists make fun of / mildly dislike engineers. "As long as I can make it in a 3D model we can make it out of metal, right?" They're beautiful, but if a part is going to be hidden from your end user, maybe think about how much manufacturing time those artistic rounded fillets are going to take up and design something that can be run on a 3 axis machine instead of a five axis machine.

* That injection molding. Wow. I'm kind of in two minds about that, because I can at least get behind the idea of spending time and money on the part of a machine your customers will be touching and seeing every day but good lord is it expensive, especially for low volume boutique products.

* The gear system. I'm surprised to see a set of spur gears in there vs a planetary gear set. Planetary gears are quiet and space efficient while also being able to transmit large loads. I'm surprised there actually wasn't a gearbox manufacturer from the cordless drill industry (another high input speed -> high output torque device) that they could tap to get a already designed and mass produced gear-train for much less money.


That's about what I thought. That recessed fillet makes me think someone clicked "fillet" in Autodesk Inventor, not realizing what it does to the machining time. The machined parts seem to have machined features on all sides. I wonder how many setups that takes. If they'd designed it out of thick flat plates, the plates could be cut on a water jet or plasma cutter, or machined with one setup on a 3-axis mill.

I haven't done injection molding, but I know that making the molds is the expensive part. Once you've made the molds, making parts is cheap. If there was an overoptimistic market projection, the mold cost per part would seem low.

There's a fairly common arrangement for presses where a motor drives a worm gear which drives a ring gear with a threaded or ball screw hole. Here's a consumer-appliance grade version from China, used in an oil press, pasta extruder, or juicer.[1][2] $2 in quantity 500. The first thing to do in mechanical design is to find out what you can buy.

[1] https://honestmotor.en.alibaba.com/product/1971456634-222573... [2] https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/220v-dc-worm-gear-mot...


Fancy molds with high tolerances require multiple iterations of making molds then destroying them. You can also find that parts are not able to be shot, usually before, but sometimes after making the mold. The texturing and cuts are expensive and difficult as well.

If they were going for Apple-level tolerances, they're walking into a minefield.


How about gear it further down behind a smaller motor for starters? It's not like you're about to start wood turning, there is already a gearbox in there, with the right ratio a much smaller motor likely would suffice.

That thing is so over-engineered it is almost as if it was a joke.


> That thing is so over-engineered it is almost as if it was a joke.

Maybe different people use that term differently but I wouldn't call that 'over-engineered'. I'd just call it 'poorly engineered'. Mismatched components doing a poor job despite being far more expensive than necessary. If they'd put a well designed hydraulic press in there, I'd call it over-engineered. :)


I wonder if, with the right set of gears, someone could make a zero-emission, disaster-ready and eco-friendly version that says "please insert the pouch, step on the juicer and gently hop on it until the juice is ready."

Hey if any VC is listening I'm willing to sell this idea. Only asking $10M.


Toddler powered FTW.


I suspect the majority of the power is already burned in the gears.

Two teslas is 40000 newtons. If we assume the press moves 5cm in 2.5 minutes:

40000 * (0.05/150) = 13 watts.


Apparently the press already takes ~2.5min to make a glass of juice. A smaller motor would probably take even longer


The competition (hand press, bottles) and so on are way ahead of them then.

Maybe we can out-do them and build a hydraulic version: "Now with 50 tons of pressure". I have a hydro pack lying around here somewhere with a really neat 3" puck piston. I'm sure that would do the job just fine and maybe even a little bit quicker.


With a 15A, 330V motor. That's almost 5KW, or 6.6 HP, for those of you who don't use SI units.


Which is more power than my lawn mower, which makes comparable outputs as what is inside those juice packets.


Ironically I literally can't view the page on my iPad.

There's somehow too much happening for this 2013 device to handle.


I can't go past this comment without mentioning that I'm currently using a ThinkPad T43 while my i3 box is on indefinite loan to a friend... and despite being 11 years old the T43 loads the site just fine. The video's a bit much (youtube-dl for that) but yeah.

FWIW, easily 85-90% of what I try and open on my old Kindle (the super-basic version from a few years ago) makes the browser - and sometimes the whole UI - completely seize up. I'm guessing (based on how everything gets super sluggish) they didn't enable swapping - which does make total sense, but then the device only has 256MB(?) of RAM......

Now I'm curious what the iPad's virtual memory settings are like. And whether swap on Flash (of the caliber that goes in an iPad) is a good idea!


Fresh out of college? Aren't dropouts all the rage nowadays? By graduation, you're ooooold, and old people only have stale ideas.


Yeah. Young people are just smarter.


Oh gosh. This is when Mark Zuckerberg​ sounded just like a more stupid and ageist version of Donald Trump.


This is probably the explanation - I have certainly seen the sort of software equivalents that several other posters have written about - but I am wondering if it might have come from a military-industrial / cost-plus contracting style of development.


> but it seems like a roller would be able to provide a more efficient and focused method of squeezing than a press they're using now.

Or maybe, just maybe, a screw-driven piston, like many actual juicers have...

But let's be completely honest - the machine was always meant to be an expensive countertop device. It looks expensive, it weighs a lot, people will think you spent a lot of money on it even if they don't know how much it'll cost... This is exactly why the engineering staff was told "go nuts" on the hardware design - the more expensive and custom, the better. It does the job of looking like a high-end appliance exactly and precisely, and really nothing more.

This company always intended to make its money back selling overpriced juice packs like Keurig, banking on people with more money than common sense buying and using the hell out of these devices for the $14 juice packs. Selling the machines near cost or even as a loss leader was perfectly acceptable, as long as customers had to come back to them for more juice month over month. It just turns out consumers were smart enough to see through the not-so-clever ruse of buying a $400 counterweight to squeeze a package of pre-squeezed juice out of a bag and into a cup...


Keurig is not that bad. The system is out of patent so you can get off-brand brewers and cartridges that aren't quite as good in quality but are unlikely to cause a terrible mess in a hotel room.


Keurig is great at one thing: making the worst coffee this world has to offer. That aside, I though they went to DRM enabled cups in the last few years in an attempt to block the aftermarket cup makers.


...the worst coffee this world has to offer.

Having heard this from a number of coffee fans, I suspect you're not the market Keurig really targets. Rather I suspect we non-coffee-drinkers might be the primary buyers. We want something that will sit innocuously in the kitchen, looking good and doing nothing, on the off chance that we'll be expected to provide coffee for someone. We don't know how to buy coffee, we don't know how to prepare it, and we don't know how to clean up after preparing it. Also, we don't care to know any of those things. So, here's a something we made for you that came out of a fancy package. Now we're going to throw away this little plastic cup.


Seems like an expensive investment on the off-chance that you might have guests who really can't handle not having any coffee when they're visiting a non-coffee-drinking household. My solution is the small jar of instant coffee I periodically have to throw out because it's gone mouldy.


I swear I am not a coffee snob, but...

If all you have is instant, you're better off not offering anything. That stuff is generally terrible.


Speaking as such a guest, I look after my own needs in that regard. Expecting one's hosts to attend to one's vices is just tacky.


The issue I have is: when a host offers me coffee, what's the polite way to say "yes please, but not if it's instant"?


There is no polite way to say that.

The polite thing to do would be to accept the coffee or not, without placing conditions on the host, or implying that their hospitality is possibly beneath your standards.


I wish I could upvote you more than once.


Ha, there's not. Instant is better (just) than no coffee, even though I wouldn't touch the stuff at home...


It's like if someone offers you a beer. Bud Light or a strong IPA may not be to your taste, but saying "what do you have" sounds greedy unless they've offered a choice. A free beer is still a free beer. You either turn down the offer or you are grateful for the free beer. There are no other options.


"What kind is it? I don't want to deprive you of a beer if I won't enjoy it." There, done.


I had a colleague who'd ask: "What kind of beer? Heineken? That's no beer."

After a couple of those, everybody knows your taste :D


So my wife and I use a French Press for coffee in the morning. I love a good cup of coffee and it really does not take that much time to make. Heck, I enjoy the process.

Now for espresso or the like, well that is a different story. We used to have an espresso machine but it was quite a pain (and took up space). For that the machines are great. We have the Nespresso machine with the milk attachment. Makes a pretty good cup. They provide mailing bags for you to send back the used cups? carts? (hum) for recycling.


I've been using a tiny Krups Esprimo for over 10 years. One of the tubes popped off after a few years, but after taking the shell off and identifying the culprit, I just used a zip tie as a miniature hose clamp and have been going strong for a long time. The key with the hose was to clean the nozzle: it has a single port, so a clogged port is a single source of failure. But $90 for an 8-bar espresso machine is hard to beat. Not good for random joe, but fine for a hacker.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00007CWFE


The french press is just the ultimate coffee making device. It's simple, it gives you a lot of control (via the amount, the grind, the water temperature and soak time) and it makes glorious, glorious coffee.

Expresso machines are complex and bulky, and they generally aren't worth it unless you can spend $600+ (and that plus goes WAY up). Nespresso isn't bad at all (we have one here at work), but even better is a Lavazza machine, which takes cartridges like the Nespresso, but the resulting espresso is an order of magnitude better, in my opinion.


Aeropress. Small, fun, easy to use and clean - and makes excellent coffee.


What about the good old Italian stove top espresso pot?

I'm a tea drinker myself, but have one around to serve decent espresso to people that want it.


You can get Maxwell House instant coffee which is packaged in tea bags so making a cup of coffee is as easy as a cup of tea. And it's as good as Keurig coffee.


This is good advice!


A much better device for that use case is a percolator though. They sell them at IKEA for like $10. Using one is as simple as putting in water, putting in ground coffee, and sticking it on a stove. Makes much better coffee than a keurig and takes up less space to boot.


Unfortunately no-one sells ground coffee in small quantities. I don't know about Keurig, but those Nespresso capsules come in small packages and they have a long shelf life.

I'd rather have a cup of Nespresso coffee than a fresh brewed cup of stale ground coffee.


Unfortunately no-one sells ground coffee in small quantities.

Many larger food stores and most specialty coffee shops sell coffee beans by weight and will grind them for you. So you can easily by just a small amount at a time if you want.


That's fine advice for anyone who wants to know or do anything about coffee. As indicated above, that ain't me. I'm not going to a weird store to talk to someone who operates weird equipment to buy some weird stuff that I don't consume. The reason I'd consider buying a Keurig is that then I wouldn't have to do any of that.


I mainly use two different sized old school Mokka Express aluminum cans from Bialetti. Super cheap (got both for less than 20$) and very small/easy to handle and clean. Plus: the coffee tastes great. I grind my own coffee (cheap used 20yrs old grinder, 4$), but there are sealed ground coffee packs containing only 60 grams (2oz). Coffee is not as instant as with a Keurig/Nespresso though.


I've had the worst coffee this world has to offer. I got it at a truck stop somewhere off Interstate 40 in east Tennessee. Tasted like bile and acid, went through me like a dose of salts, and left desolation and sorrow in its wake. Had me in the bushes off the side of the road for the better part of an hour, and gave me a whole new respect for long-haul truckers - either they have the iron constitution to drink that shit and not mind it, or they keep in close enough touch that they've all warned each other off it. Either way, I'm impressed.

Keurigs do a perfectly fine job by comparison.


> the worst coffee this world has to offer

I guess you've never had coffee out of a rarely serviced machine in the break room of a millwrighting shop.

Keurig coffee is the smoothest brew ever compared to some of the terrible coffee I've gladly drank over the years.


  Keurig is great at one thing: making the worst coffee this 
  world has to offer
The behemoth coffee machine in my office kitchen would like a word.


Yeah, if you want awful coffee, Keurig is here to service you! Otherwise, a simple hot pot can heat water and make you a good cup of drip coffee without grounds at a much lower price point, and it is compostable/yardwasteable, unlike those K-cups!


Guess people forget you can get pods that let you use your own coffee and it's reusable and you put the grounds in compost.


I've used those at past workplaces that had Keurig machines, while it works it is a mess to clean, and essentially requires a sink to clean. Comparatively, drip coffee grounds are self contained in a paper filter.


I've seen people use tiny paper filters in them. No idea if it's something you can buy though - I'm not really a coffee drinker.


All you're saying is true, but they still would have been much better off designing something that didn't cost them so much to produce. It would have looked, and weighed the same, but they would have made a lot more money.


The juice packs are $5-$8.


It's interesting that an alternative machine called JUISIR on Kickstarter/Indiegogo also uses a full surface press instead of rollers. (If multiple teams are avoiding rollers, there may be some non-obvious disadvantage with that configuration.)

Scroll down half way to see the gif animation of the mechanism: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1793272089/juisir-juici...

It would be interesting to see if their engineering choices resulted in a much less expensive machine to manufacturer.

Indiegogo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/juisir-zero-cleaning-maxi...

gif direct link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/015/010/304/9b81fed3f5e8827...


> If multiple teams are avoiding rollers, there may be some non-obvious disadvantage with that configuration.

My suspicion, if I put my engineering hat on and give them the benefit of the doubt, is it's an optimization for later.

Right now, the purchased packs you can buy are effectively already juice. Later, you may want to make them less juicy so you can spend less time manufacturing the packs, but people will scream if you make them buy a new machine. So, your first machine out the chute needs to be way overengineered.

Nevertheless, this machine design screams junior engineers.


> (If multiple teams are avoiding rollers, there may be some non-obvious disadvantage with that configuration.)

It's just product differentiation. And remember, their target market are the kind of people who want to feel special by one-upping the other #rawvegan #fitspiration #healthnuts on social media.


Even Apple products might only have one or two custom-machine parts, and they're usually the enclosure, which the customer can see and maybe makes the prettiness matter to make the thing seem luxury. They don't have tons of internal separately machined components (it's all injection-molded, I think), and I'm sure they look for cost-cutting opportunities in internal components too (Tim Cook's background is in logistics, after all).


And the trick with their custom-machined enclosures is they're also the internal structure. That saves on remaining internal parts.


Did you ever take apart their plastic macbooks? They were packed to the gills, with 3x as many screws and parts as any Dell.


That's why the aluminium unibody design has been the standard now.


yep. saying this is well designed because they overcome all the hurdles with brute force is like showing how awesome is your webapp random-sort algo because you have one 24 core machine per user request. just look how expensive are all those servers! look! no cloud either! not even co-locating! isn't it awesome! (wasn't a question)!

saddest part is that we are getting cheap fly-by-night puffy pieces. HN used to only alow the expensive ones on wired to pass. This community is dying :(


Yeah, all it really needed to be is a modernized mangler: http://i.imgur.com/t3QRmgb.jpg


A roller is what I thought of while reading this too. It seems fairly obvious, but I would be surprised if there wasn't an even better design. Juicero's people must have thought of this and the superior alternatives in the very early stages and then decided to do it the way they did anyways.

I know nothing about Juicero, but it seems like there must be somebody who thought they were the second coming of Steve Jobs overriding both the engineers and accountants. That person's reality distortion field must have just popped rather loudly.


A roller also needs something to press the contents towards it without grip for traction of it's own, so I imagine you need two separate mechanisms.


Based on seeing what is inside the bags, most of the work is already done by the processing equipment at the factory, making the press the least important part of the process.


It's the most important part in terms of raising funding for this ridiculously stupid concept.


It would also be trivially easy to construct something that squeezes the juice packets between, say, two wooden cutting boards, that would apply uniform pressure over a large surface area in the same way that the juicero does. Then, what do you have left? A bunch of features that I doubt people really care about, such as automatic disabling of packs (seriously, just send me an email) and reorder reminders?


A $8 tortilla press can do the job as well or better than this over-engineered piece of junk.

A $15 pasta roller can probably come pretty close.


I don't think a roller would work. The solids in the bag would settle to one side of the bag and form a clump. You would either need a ton of torque to drive the roller and smash the clump or a slip-roller.


If this discussion goes on for much longer there will be something even more complex than the device shown.


A double-roller system will probably have that problem, but twisting the bag in on itself and just torquing it will probably work, the bag's pressing against itself in a fairly uniform manner.


I wonder if you could get uniform pressure by putting the juice bag itself in some fluid, then pressurizing that? I mean obviously you could, but I don't know if you could get 15 bar or whatever they are going for using something relatively inexpensive.

(OTOH, it would be annoying if it exploded)


I think the main reason for the QR code is to discourage third-party juice packs.


Well that might be part of it, but the reason is because the juice had no preservatives so they will go bad. Honestly it would be a product failure if people were getting sick for using the bags after they've gone rotten


If only there were some simple way of indicating a date by which a food should be used. Maybe they could make it human-readable.


I highly doubt you can apply that much pressure without wooden boards breaking or warping.


You would still likely need a large motor and drive even with a roller-type design. Gravity will cause the solids to settle at the bottom of the juice bag. The roller would presumably need to contend with this.


I came here to bring up the roller idea myself. They could make a quick cheap mechanical version and low price point. They might actually be able to deal in volume and recover from their first attempt.


So how do you keep the pulp in while letting the juice out, and not having the business end of the plastic package violently explode like a tube of toothpaste in a vise?


This was great reading, I really enjoy this style of content: someone with expertise tearing down electrical and mechanical equipment and commenting on which parts are well done or poorly done.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for other write ups from Ben Einstein. To anyone wanting more content like this, I also recommend the "Bored of Lame Tool Reviews?" (BOLTR) series of videos from YouTuber AvE:

https://www.youtube.com/user/arduinoversusevil


You might like the EEVblog teardown videos. There is indeed something strangely compelling about a knowledgeable person providing an unbiased running commentary on somebody else's work.


Also, if you enjoy teardowns of cheap Chinese crap, big Clive's got your back:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtM5z2gkrGRuWd0JQMx76qA

What I've learned watching his channel: Don't skimp on your USB chargers, get Anker or IKEA ones (seriously, the IKEA charger was amazingly well-designed).


Absolutely! I think my introduction to Big Clive's channel was a review of one of those electrode heater deathtraps for rapidly boiling water. I need to check out more of his stuff.


As an electrical engineer, I find EEVblog to be pretty salty. He complains (like huge rants) about pretty minor things. I prefer MikesElectricStuff. His criticisms are usually more valid and he is sure to praise ingenuity when he sees it.


Right... also, during a tear-down, he'll occasionally leap to some conclusion about how something was done, complain about it / praise it, and then completely contradict himself a few minutes later (or in a text overlay) once the facts emerge. Still, it's good entertainment.


Totally agreed. His rants are usually fairly superficial as well, and he tends to get a lot wrong. It's fine to get stuff wrong, and it's fine to rant, but doing both at the same time is tacky.

I think it's because he had a lot of success with his early rants, which were generally pretty on-point. As time went on they get more and more salty and inaccurate as he ran out of good ideas.

TheSignalPath is a great EE channel as well.


As a firmware engineer, I second the MikesElectricStuff recommendation. More depth, cooler stuff. His voice is also much less annoying...


Thanks for the recommendation, I look forward to checking out MikesElectricStuff.

I have seen a lot of EEVblog videos, but only a small fraction of his output, prolific guy. I definitely agree, too much grousing at times. Though he did seem to be appropriately outraged in the first one I watched (#822, about a terrible medical tablet PC):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o8MDCIlOEk


I just watched that man thread a potato into a potato. He's full of the dad jokes -- really entertaining. Not sure I can handle more than one in a row!

Thanks for that.


That was the first of his videos that I saw, too! I think it's a good introduction, but I'd say it's one of the least serious out of all of them. I suppose it's an acquired taste -- I had some difficulty convincing my dad to check out the channel, but recently he told me he was enjoying "that Canadian 'keep your dick in a vise' guy".

We would often sit down as a family and watch The Red Green Show during my middle school years. With its TV run now long over, I'm glad that there's another Canadian continuing in the grand tradition of workshop shenanigans.


So am I! Canada's changing. Maybe it's just nostalgia now -- the folksy jokes and all. Still, I've got a soft spot.

If thats your flavour of comedy, I have to recommend Letterkenny. If you haven't heard of it, it's a show on CraveTV based on the part of the country I hail from.

(I know I'm digressing from the main thread... but a small sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KLSbCtinXs)


Red Green is archived on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/user/RedGreenTV


That video gets about 100x funnier if you watch it at half speed.


The potato bolt is AvE at his most intolerably Canadian. He tones down the persona quite a bit in the more technical videos.


Either way I'll be sure to check out some more. I got to practice a bit of machining at a former job. It's satisfying to see something come into such perfect, useful shape -- it's almost animal.


Part of the problem is that the cold-pressed juice fad is not really rational to begin with. Somehow customers are convinced that the method of juice extraction is extremely important to the juice's health benefits, to the point that it's worth spending 3x comparable juices. It's great marketing on the verge of fraud. In order to capitalize on the fad the startup probably thought they needed a really fancy, distinctive press since the press has become of mythical importance in the customers' mind. And since cold-pressed customers have already proven to be cost insensitive they figured price is no object, so let engineering go wild!


Gramophone records. Audiophile speaker cables. Many (if not most) branded luxury goods ($2145 IKEA shopping bag, anyone?) [1][2].

These products are not made to be functional, any functionality they have is secondary to their prime purpose: to be used as props in a ritual. What ritual they serve varies, from the mundane 'I can afford to spend a lot of money on non-essential goods' affluence signalling (most branded luxury goods fit in this category) to something resembling the Japanese tea ceremony in the sense that they turn a common event into a highly ritualised happening (I'd fit gramophone records in here). Some are just ways for unscrupulous actors to extract the maximum amount of money from an easily duped audience ($21.000 for a 3m short speaker cable [3], anyone? Don't forget to buy that $11.000 mains cable [4] while you're at it, you would not want your $144,481.80 turntable [5] to be without it).

Cold pressed juice itself is probably partly ceremonial, partly affluence signalling. Where overpriced, waste-generating Rube Goldberg juice delivery devices with vendor lock-in fit in I'll leave for you to decide.

[1] http://www.barneys.com/product/balenciaga-arena-extra-large-... [2] http://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/17228340/ [3] http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2008/11/most-expensive-speaker-c... [4] http://www.analogueseduction.net/nordost-mains-cables/ndvali... [5] http://www.analogueseduction.net/clearaudio-turntables/clear...


I'm sooo not in the market, and even at 1/10th the price I'd find it expensive, but still: it's not fair to call that Balenciaga bag an "IKEA shopping bag".

It's made in Italy, from actual leather, with fabric lining, a zip pocket and keyring lanyard.

That's a lot of features that are all way nicer than what FRAKTA brings, of course. It's obviously still a luxury product, but leather isn't cheap like polypropylene.


Nothing to do with the leather - everyone has nice leather now, even Chinese no-brand brands you get for $80 on Amazon. "Balenciaga" means almost all the price is in the name - not only is it designer, but there's a hierarchy of designers in which it's far from the bottom; to pick another name off the top, this'll make anyone with a Coach bag turn green, even if it's a lot closer to the top of that line than this is to this. Also, blue leather's tough to pull off in general, and you have to be both confident and daring to even try it. So it makes you the one to beat stylewise, and makes that hard to do, both at the same time.


Ever feel like maybe you're in the wrong line of work? The market's tiny, but at eleven grand a throw, the profit margin's got to be nosebleed-worthy.

I wonder if I can make something like this work as a sideline? I mean it's snake oil, it just has to look fancy and have a story around it, and hell, that can't be too hard.


To me, cold pressed orange juice I buy tastes 3X better than any other orange juice I've tried at the store. To me, that's worth 3X more. Some people value taste more than others, to each his own.


I believe the parent was describing the unsubstantiated belief that press-type juicers are somehow superior to the centrifugal-type juicers you can buy for tens of dollars at big box stores.

I agree with you about fresh squeezed OJ, but I don't believe for a second that it matters if the orange is squeezed in a press or twisted in a rotary. (different kind of juicer, but you get the point).


Fresh-squeezed juice tastes better because you don't have to do all the things that need to be done to make juice safe to ship long distances. The idea that this super-expensive way of getting juice "damages the nutrients less" is a bunch of ridiculous hokum, and I'm betting if you got fresh orange juice that wasn't cold-pressed you wouldn't notice a 3X difference between it and cold-pressed.


Fresh-squeezed juice is not actually fresh. It's still made from a concentrate.


H-how? How are the oranges I squeeze by hand concentrate..?


I mean the premium ones you are seeing in supermarket (Tropicana, Minute Maid, et al), especially orange ones.


Unless you actually saw it being squeezed, I wouldn't consider it "freshly squeezed". This is also the first time I've seen anybody, outside of advertisement, describe Minute Maid as "premium" orange juice.

Over here some supermarkets have juicers pre-filled with oranges in their produce sections, you just put an empty bottle into it, push a button and you can watch live as it squeezes the oranges into your bottle.


Don't know if they exist in the US, but I specifically look for juice bottles that say "NOT FROM CONCENTRATE". I can usually find a few even in smaller grocery stores.


I think what was meant by "fresh-squeezed" is the not from concentrate kind.

I certainly wouldn't describe juice from concentrate as "fresh-squeezed", because it's been squeezed, boiled to reduce its water content, frozen, packed, shipped, defrosted, rehydrated and packed again before I get to drink it.


Have you done a double-blind test with some top-brand non-frozen orange juices?


It tastes better, but is juice (of any kind) actually good for you? I'm not convinced.


Here's your article, good sir. "As Juicero gets publicly shamed, let us not forget that juice itself is a lie" https://qz.com/965505/juicero-turns-out-to-be-pointless-so-i...


The article does not say it is a lie. the article says some over exaggerate the benefits. It says the actual fruit is better. But also says juice (reasonable amounts) is good for you.


Of course it is good for you. Vegetable more so (I would imagine) but fruit juice as well. Would it be better to eat the fruit and veg, sure. But is having juice better than nothing. Yes. Is it better than some other liquid refreshments. Yes.

Is it as good for you as some would have you believe, no. Do some over market it as a cure all. Sure. That doesn't mean, it is bad for you*

* to an extent amount and fruit depending.


No: all that fructose can definitely be bad for you.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fresh-juice-drinks-health...


"good" and "bad" are comparisons, not quantifications. The correct question is something like: all else being equal, what is the difference in expected lifespan between a juice drinker and a juice abstainer?

I'm pretty sure that HN has consumed more of my lifespan than any diet could compensate for.


It's probably better to avoid the fruit entirely. Modern fruit has been bred to increase sugar content far above what was natural. If you can fine real wild berries those are probably OK but they will taste sour if you're used to supermarket fruit.


Have a source for that? Or even an example of a fruit where it's the case? It certainly isn't true for apples - heirloom varieties often have higher sugar content than modern apples. Modern apples taste sweeter than many heirloom varieties due to lower acidity, not higher sugar content.

Many modern cultivated fruits don't contain nearly as much sugar as they could because they're picked early, before their prime.

In the Northwest, Rubus armeniacus is an invasive species which has never been heavily bred, and is one of the sweetest fruits you can find - especially in late summer.

Grapes are one of the only fruits which have enough sugar to make wine with unless you use chaptalization. (Though some berries like Blackberries get close.)


My big reason for eating fruit is more the micronutrients, since I treat multivitamins (and pills in general) with suspicion. That trite adage of "stuff your grandmother would recognise" has been enormously beneficial to me.

Would you say that modern fruits lack these micronutrients as well? Anecdotally, I cannot report any excessive shortages in my nutrition.


> Would it be better to eat the fruit and veg, sure. But is having juice better than nothing.

But in this system you already have the fruit and vegetables whole - because you put them into the juicer. Why spend the extra time, expense and fuss on juicing them, when you could just eat them in less time, less fuss, and without buying anything?

You've said it's better to eat them, and it's quicker, less fuss and cheaper, so why not?


For me the main benefit is tasty consumption of vegetables that I would otherwise probably not eat in their raw state, or in the quantity I'd like e.g. a fave is carrot, apple, ginger, spinach and broccoli.

If you believe the numerous health claims that vegetables in their raw state are good for you, this is a much easier way to consume them. If you don't believe it, then yeah, you could spend the time to cook it up - you're not in the target demo...

Criticisms such at TFA linked to above, speak of sweetened smoothies, mostly fruit drinks (who would buy a cold press to squeeze oranges? what a strawman). While the arguments are valid, they typically miss the main use-cases of core cold-press-juicer demo.


That's a cute piece of mechanism. I can see how they got into that overdesign. There must have been insistence that the pack must be crushed between two flat plates. Once you insist on that, it gets complicated.

I once got a chance to look closely at the mechanism of SF's JCDecaux overpriced automatic street toilets in SF. Those cost about $150K each. The mechanism is all Telemecanique industrial control components. If you built a washing machine that way, which you could, it would cost $5000-$10000.

Compare the Portland Loo.[1]

[1] http://theloo.biz/


Industrial control components, from what I can tell, are a way to slap together something that works really reliably, at rather high cost, but with lower development time and engineering costs.

So if it costs you $5-10k to build a washing machine with such components, that's not really a bad deal, because how much does it cost to engineer a modern washing machine? A lot more than that.

For these street toilets, the question is: how many toilets are there? If it isn't a large enough amount, the engineering cost to develop something with a lower per-unit cost won't be worth it.


Not sure what the Portland Loo comparison is meant to suggest -- from what I've read, they also cost ~130k, and at least in a few cases, much more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sdut-portl...


"There must have been insistence that the pack must be crushed between two flat plates."

Either it was intentional, or somebody didn't realize that you could do things much cheaper by pinching between rollers and applying a more limited force over a longer time. I would think the result is pretty much the same.


Rollers I don't think work right if you're squeezing intact, whole vegetables. But of course, these Juicero packets don't have intact, whole vegetables in them at all (proven by the ability for people to squeeze them out by hand).


I imagine what happened is that they designed it with flat plates so that it could press whole vegetables. However this didn't work, because as you need to mill anything except soft fruit before they are pressed. They changed the composition of the produce packs so that it did work. However by doing this they'd made the packs so easy to press that a roller (or your bare hands) were sufficient. By this point they'd already designed this beautiful over-engineered solution with flat plates, so probably didn't even try using rollers at that point.


I think rollers would work. Common sugarcane juice machines easily crush a thick, hard (almost like wood) cane into dry paper-like sheets. They can easily crush vegetables, unless you try to put a whole pumpkin into it.


The two strangest parts of this are probably the door locking mechanism and the DC motor supply. The door locking was pretty well explained, but I was really surprised at the DC motor. From previous pictures I had assumed it was a 170VDC motor (using just a rectifier + filters for noise) but according to this it's actually a 330V active power correction boost converter. I guess that gets you 100-240V range support, but it seems horribly expensive for driving a motor. Even 170VDC permanent magnet motors are pretty uncommon - they fill an awkward middle ground where the motor is too big to reasonably use a low voltage DC one (due to power supply costs), but too small to use a universal AC motor directly off line power. The only tools AvE has reviewed of this design are the Kitchenaid mixer and Drill Doctor, for reference.

Also, I don't believe "330V 15A" for a second. Maybe 2A...


> 330v 15a

Just do the math. You get about 13a tops on a 115v plug before any household circuit will trip. That is over twice that. Same with those '5hp' power tools.


1.5a 330v would make more sense (or in this application, less nonsense).


6 and a half horsepower.


The 330V is for sure a misprint. It doesn't look like they have the insulation for a high voltage motor, so my guess would be 30/33V @15A. Reading the linked spec sheet confirms it's in the range. That would put it much closer to a cordless drill motor. (450W, not 5kW, which is obviously impossible on 120VAC/15A)


I actually think the insulation is adequate for a line voltage motor. You can also see that the brush holders were heavily modified (and kinda ugly) in the Juicero motor compared to the spec sheet [1], likely due to the higher voltage.

Though the most telling is that the only isolated supply is the 5V Meanwell, the whole bottom half is at line potential as evidenced by the lack of transformers and the optoisolators right below the Meanwell supply (for controlling the H-bridge below).

One thing that still seems to be missing is active PFC - it was implied by the article, but I don't see enough components for it. Maybe it's just a rectifier into 170V/330V, and the in the case of 330V they drive the motor at half the duty cycle.

One other question was "why not a series-wound motor?" It was pointed out to me that one potential reason is that a series-wound motor introduces 60/120hz hum and vibrations, and maybe they found the noise objectionable.

[1] http://en.jiaai.cn/products_detail/productId=65.html


I think a series-wound motor would be cheaper than a custom high voltage DC motor. I'm not sure about the power output tradeoffs, though.


Wow, that is amazing. I've seen less engineered products never make it to production.

I would quibble about the custom power supply though, they are not as difficult as they were in the past. Much of the 'magic' of building good SMPS supplies has been encapsulated into very clever chips and certification bodies have seen enough of them now that the checklists are pretty straight forward.

I don't get the outrage though.


If it actually made juice then it would be an interesting product. Instead it squeezes packages with pulp and juice to force the juice out.

That's not a juicer. That's an inefficient, over-engineered sieve.


> I don't get the outrage though.

I'm. It sure it's outrage (for most) so much as a massive internet-wide SMH after Bloomberg reported that the $700 machine (now dropped in price) does nothing your bare hands can't do: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-04-19/silicon-v...


They went mass market is the problem. If this were for seniors it would have been totally acceptable.


Wow, this is an amazing teardown of the machine. Re the "apply force to the whole thing equally at once" problem mentioned at the end, I wonder if you could do something more like a roller on one side and a plate or another roller on the other, that rolls down from the top of the pack to the bottom.

Also, as overwrought and unnecessary as the Juicero product is, I can't agree with the "it's useless because you can do it by hand" argument. I could probably hand wash my clothes as well as the washing machine does in the same amount of time, but it's hardly useless. While the Juicero is pressing your juice you can be making your lunch or something.

Who knows why the CEO's response skipped straight past "having the machine do it saves you time" to "it can automatically lock you out if your pack expired."


My biggest problem with the product is that the QR-scanner, the wifi, the app, all of that has the single purpose of sometimes saying "no" when you press the button to press a pack of juice. That's all it does.

If you remove all of that crap, you get an overengineered juice-press that never says no, and always presses the packet you put into it.

Nothing is more infuriating than machines that randomly say no and refuse to do the thing they're supposed to do. The consumer value of all of that crap is negative.

"But the machine can alert you if the juice pack expired or was recalled"

Look, if you can't read the best-before date already printed on the pack, and if you can't smell the juice and tell if it's funky or not, you are a useless human being. I'm sorry, but you are.


IMO the even worse part is that you can only use their own packs at all. You know the company is most likely going to be gone within five years and then you're stuck.

The recall thing is so ridiculous though. The CEOs letter mentioned a hypothetical "spinach recall" that you would want to know about. Never in my life have I had to worry about my vegetables getting recalled. Why on Earth would I be looking to buy a product that can tell me about something that in my experience never happens?


Actually, in the past few years there has been a number of packaged vegetable recalls.

Last ones were for packaged spinach.


Yes, we've gotten a couple notices from Costco about recalls on frozen vegetables.


And if your internet is down, or their service is down, or Amazon EC2 is down, no juice for you!

Why would anyone want that in their lives?


Vegetable recalls happen, check out https://consumerist.com/tag/recall/ but it doesn't justify the QR code, they already have your email address.


The washing machine trades money for time, but the Bloomberg video showed that squeezing the juice pack is actually faster than using the machine.


It was 1.5 minutes by hand vs. 2 minutes for the Juicero. But I'm not sure if you get my point. Even if I could hand wash my washing in 30 minutes and the washing machine took 45, I'd still use the washing machine because I don't have to be there washing it. I'm assuming of course that you don't have to stand at your Juicero and babysit it while it squeezes your juice.


But you could also pour juice out of a bottle, which is effectively free, and takes approximately 0 minutes.

I don't care about a more efficient bag squeezing method, that there's a bag at all is a bizarre and useless distinction.


Well yeah, I'm only talking about the benefit for people who actually want what Juicero offers. I'm not sure if those people actually exist.


> I could probably hand wash my clothes as well as the washing machine does in the same amount of time

No. It takes you about five minutes to load and unload the washing machine, try to do the washing yourself in the same amount of time.

> While the Juicero is pressing your juice you can be making your lunch or something.

In 120 seconds?


Isn't that like saying "It takes about 5 seconds to start the juicero - try squeezing it by hand in the same amount of time"?


Only if you have a really good case for using the remaining 115 seconds (as opposed to the hour or so, plus serious physical effort, needed to wash your clothes).


Yeah, I agree there is a lot less time saved in this case, both in a relative (percent time saved vs doing by hand) and absolute (actual time saved) sense. I also feel though that the Juicero is squarely aimed at a market of people who think they have no time at all for anything.


The washing machine analogy would have been appropriate if washing machines would refuse to start unless you use the same brand detergent and clothes.


You object to spending 2 min squeezing pre made juice, and this juicero contraption is the next logical iteration?


No, I just object to the general idea that any given machine is useless simply because something can be done manually in the same or less time.


I wonder if the upcoming season of Silicon Valley will feature a startup called "Juicaneros" which features a technology that tests blood collected by pricking a single finger, and then squeezing all of the blood out of an arm through the new pricked hole by putting the arm into a 4-ton press.


They could have (and seems should have) created an elegant manual press, maybe with a crank mechanism of some kind. Would have arguably taken about the same amount of counter space and I still think that something beautiful yet manual would have played with the demo. Think pour over coffee crowd... a bit of easy manual work makes you feel like an artisan. Still would have packet subscription, still would have app potential for expiry notices and subscription management.


They did use an elegant crank mechanism, but it was in the funding model.


But can you add DRM to your juicer if you use a manual crank!


I think the machine is fine and I don't feel like $400 is very much for a well built appliance. What kills me about this thing is the fact that they take so many steps to lock you in to their juice packs, which are priced so high that a regular user will have spent more on juice in the first month than the entire machine. Couple that with requiring a nanny QR scan to make sure you can't press "expired" packs as if we are unable to simply read an expiration date and it gets ridiculous. By the way, has anyone mentioned that the expiration on the packs is 8 days after the date of manufacture? Subtract shipping time and you literally have 4 days to use your packs before you shiny new machine says "gotta buy more!" What if I'm ok with a 9 day old pack? Too bad. I think that's what will kill the Juicero. It makes customers feel like they're being hustled.


The $400 is fine. I got a factory refurb model but Vitamixes are in that sort of range. However Vitamixes can just use random fruit and vegetables including prepared versions from the produce department and freezer section of the grocery store.

I agree that it's the $400 + juice packs + nanny scans. Making smoothies isn't a big deal. And if you're willing to trade off a few $$ for a little prep effort savings there are tons of options--including ingredient subscription services.


Beauriful but over engineered for its niche and utterly useless.

700bucks for abag squeezer? Something went terribly wrong.

It feels like they aimed to produce some advanced robotics and built the wrong product. Could turn this into a limb for amputees, makes more sense and actually good use of the resources.


>700bucks for abag squeezer? Something went terribly wrong.

700 bucks for an Internet of Things bag-squeezer with analytics data generated from your consumption and easy re-use of containers.

I've seen at least three or four other start-ups that could be called "Juicero for X". The interesting question is: for what sorts of products do the economics really work out? I don't want to imply everything on this template will fail, even if Juicero... can't be expected to make a healthy profit.


I was not familiar with the product and after reading article I question if I am understanding this right. This press is only for their custom bag of pulp ?


https://www.juicero.com/the-packs/

Yep. Can get them as a subscription, each one has a QR code so that the juicer knows it is juicing an OEM pack, and is farmer GMO blah blah blah.


> [...] each one has a QR code so that the juicer knows it is juicing an OEM pack, and is farmer GMO blah blah blah

Which has zero value for most people.


Correct. You can't use anything else with it. There's a QR code scanner where the bag sits, meaning the press won't even operate unless there's a bag with a recognized (and validated via internet connection) serial number.


This company has to be a front for something; there has to be more to this story... I refuse to believe this is real. $120 million raised!


Some kid came up with an idea, his bro econ student joined in and drafted a sales pitch, the investment glut means there's too many people with too much money just sitting around in their bank accounts and they thought they could invest in this, because it "surely" will make money since it has analytics (big data) and IoT, and there you have it.


It wasn't a kid though. The guy had some pedigree because he opened a chain of juice bars back in the early 2000s. He's also been in contact with Jony Ive and Bill Gates, so I'm sure his connections helped him.


Only thing I can think of is that they've been granted some extremely broad patents on the general idea of IoT-based food processing.


How easy would it be to just cut out the top of the bag with the QR code and stick it there? Then the machine would squeeze anything inside it within the limited shelf life of that bag.

Jokingly I can even see 'the mafia' using it to crush someone's hand in the device. Though that makes me wonder if the machine does provide enough force to do that, and what kind of damage it could do... Anyone can know or figure it out?


The QR codes had unique numbers which were validated over the Internet.


Hand squeeze the juice then use the QR code to squeeze someone's hand...


I'm wondering now what these machines might be good for as parts. After this company goes belly-up, surely these machines can be had for pennies on Ebay. What can we do with them?


You can squeeze DRMed bags.


They have that absurdly over-specced ARM processor, with convenient USB terminals on the PCB for flashing it. I'm sure you could make them useful.


Calling an STM32F407 absurdly over-specced is hyperbole. It's just a 6$ micro controller, not a smartphone class SoC like a Snapdragon. They probably need it to do the QR code scanning and IoT DRM thingies.


It is certaily over-engineered. All the stuff mentioned can probably be done using an 8bit Atmega.


Salvaged for a robotics project?


> 700bucks for abag squeezer? Something went terribly wrong.

It's far too early to tell.

Yes it is expensive but remember there are plenty of wealthy people (hint: early adopters) in this world willing to pay for convenience. If you can show me a cheaper bag squeezer that looks equally good in my kitchen and is as convenient then that would be something. But right now there isn't one.

It reminds me very much of Nutribullets or Thermomixes which were both overpriced in the beginning until competitors came in to the market.


My hand mate


I have to say I do find it disheartening that everything is aiming for a subscription model. Software, food, etc. I know that it is a very profitable business model but it does make me wonder if I really want to live in a world where everything is by subscription.

These subscription models, or even machines that require only a certain type of consumable, are effectively leases. Sure you may buy a piece of hardware, but it is only useful for as long as you buy and use the required consumable.

I am comfortable in renting a place to live - especially since I have moved about every 2-3 years in recent memory - and I am comfortable paying a subscription fee for some software and services. But I am not that comfortable when I have to subscribe to food or clothing for example.


Completely agree with you. What I particularly despise is the absurd lack of discussion on the amount of packaging waste. Why doesn't that make these piece of shit things non-starters?

Excuse the vitriol, but it absolutely makes my blood boil, the fucking Keurigs, these idiot juicers, Blue Apron, and that one company that even delivers a box of clothes each month? WTF?! I buy clothes every two years, and even I could do better.

Also, even if they offered to collect the packaging, and recycle/reuse it, it's a needless complication to an issue that shouldn't exist to begin with.

Why isn't a low-tech, low-carbon footprint life celebrated more? A french press/moka pot coffee, a mixer to make your juice (because, you know, you take the time to peel the motherfucking fruit beforehand), and cooking your own god damned food on a frying pan.


> Why isn't a low-tech, low-carbon footprint life celebrated more? A french press/moka pot coffee, a mixer to make your juice (because, you know, you take the time to peel the motherfucking fruit beforehand), and cooking your own god damned food on a frying pan.

Reading your comment was deliciously cathartic, and now I know that moka pots are a thing. If I get a coffee habit again I'll have to look into trying one.


Food is already a 'subscription'. We sign up with protein, fat, and carb service providers (e.g. chicken, if I may) and we pay for their services on a daily basis. Sometimes we kill the underperforming providers and eat them too.



This could become a collectible piece of hardware. A sort of beautiful tech historical folly. Might be worth the actual price over a 50 to 60 year timeline.


> This could become a collectible piece of hardware. A sort of beautiful tech historical folly. Might be worth the actual price over a 50 to 60 year timeline.

Remember CueCat? (Actually I was a young kid back then, but I'd really like to have one. I like cats.)


A discouraging idea - checking eBay, brandnew Cuecats are like $10. I think that's well below their original selling price, even after all these years of inflation.


Actually, no, that's infinitely higher than their original selling price, literally. They were given away for free at Radio Shack. I used to have one; I spent a few minutes playing with it, then stashed it away thinking I'd eventually find something useful to do with it, but never did. I eventually gave it to Goodwill or something.


I got quite a few as a nerdy middle school kid who frequented RadioShack. I always thought I'd come up with something interesting you do with them too. Never did...


Oh, my bad. I could've sworn they were originally sold for at least $10 but checking WP, they apparently were given away right from the start.


No but that is cool looking. My former business partner had a tangentially related idea. He wanted a mouse that copy-pasted across different computers.



There's a ton of them on eBay right now, many of them pre-modified to remove the DRM.


Still have mine on the shelf in the office.


Except it won't work. Historical antiques are usually interesting because they still work after decades (if care is taken).


Incredible. Does this make Juicero the first mass-market example of chindōgu?

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chindōgu


No, that would be the selfie stick

http://imgur.com/gallery/WJsAZ


Selfie sticks work wonderfully... for pointing out distracted and self-absorbed people to the rest of us. And taking shaky selfies too!


Looks like they are getting a bunch of free press.


I lol'ed.


Using all those CNC milled parts is simply crazy. CNC is for prototypes, small runs, super specialised load characteristics or runs of parts that are practically impossible to make otherwise. This use does not tick any of those boxes.


the whole thing is crazy. this is a slap in the face of anyone who has taken an engineering course, let alone anyone who was able to grow up with common sense


I especially love the pusher. Lots of milled out pockets to save weight. They need to save weight because... ?


I bought a $300 juice 15 years ago and it's a simple design and can juice anything. It's basically a giant motor with a plastic assembly attached to the front to hold the food.

If you are serious about juicing you can find cheaper products that don't require packets. This is a convenience item for people with a lot of money. There is no way this company will be worth $120MM unless they design a low cost model.


Sounds like the design of the Champion juicer, those things were great. Lasted forever.


Out of all the Juicero outrage, this is the best. You can still admire something for all its flaws.


It's like a museum of flaws and lessons about what not to do that will be educational for other companies.


Absolutely. In a Design for Manufacturing class, this extreme example will be shown on day 1.


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