Voltaire Cloud-Connected Portable Coffee Grinder

Internet of Things

A Cloud Connected Coffee Grinder

GIR had successfully developed and launched a number of unique kitchen tools. The company had identified an opportunity to market an IoT connected, portable coffee grinder for a specific subset of coffee drinkers. The product would need to include features that were truly new to the market including sensing bean freshness. This would be the first electro-mechanical and cloud-connected product for GIR, so they sought outside help to develop the system, rather than building an internal development team. SGW Designworks was a great fit for the project due to specific experience in coffee grinder design, kitchen appliance development, electric drive systems, data collection, and cloud-connected products.

Smart Product Prototype for Kickstarter

Since the IoT development investment would be significant, GIR considered alternative funding methods. They had successfully used Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help fund development of other products and decided to do the same for the coffee grinder (called “Voltaire”). This decision was a significant input into the development plan. Since prototypes for use in Kickstarter campaigns have specific requirements that are a little different than a regular mid-stage prototype, this decision defined the development milestones.

IoT Development Approach

The client had a well-defined vision for the look and feel of the Voltaire, so SGW Designworks focused on the development of the electromechanical elements of the product, as well as embedded systems. Early work from the embedded systems team focused on choosing the best microprocessor and electronics components while checking the intended functionality against the capabilities of various communication protocols, security constraints, and target production costs. In parallel, the mechanical team worked on concept level feasibility analysis on the grinding/drive system. This early work included many iterations of the drive subsystem to achieve the right balance of size, torque delivery, and power consumption. As mechanical work and embedded systems work converged, the Kickstarter prototype came to life and, and the campaign went live.


In August of 2016, the Voltaire successfully reached the Kickstarter funding threshold (see the Voltaire campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo), allowing ramp-up of the final design for manufacture and design optimization.

This project is the most recent in a string of kitchen and coffee related products that we have had a chance to develop for clients. Development and engineering of a compact, cloud-connected coffee grinder for enthusiasts.


  • Kickstarter Campaign
  • Embedded Systems
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering