I know this is way out in left field but...

http://thatcoffeeguy.wordpress.com/

Could be really interesting, although I have no means to make it happen...

-bry

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If someone were insane and/or motivated enough, I'm sure a very small fiber optics device could be put in the block —say where a dispersion screw would be. Introduce a light supply and work out a way as to not disturb the water path/dispersion, and there you go. It would be extremely cool. It would be extremely insane, too. But still cool...
Illy did it a couple of years ago:

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1209

Sounds interesting, though we haven't heard any more about it in the intervening 2 years, so perhaps we didn't learn as much from it as we'd hope?
MRI would be cool. A fine metallic analogue could be used. Couple that with a ceramic or plastic potrafilter, as to offer magnetic transparency.
I can't remember where for the life of me I saw a glass portafilter (on the internet).

But it has been done and I have seen one before.
Yeah I saw that thread when I did a google search, but I can't find actual pictures or videos of it anywhere to know what it looked like and I don't think it had glass baskets.

Also there is the post that says it didn't even have a handle? It makes it hard for me to imagine what it must have looked like.

But other things too... why not glass brew baskets for drip applications (I know we are pushing for the industry to move away from them, but they are not evil, especially not PID'd ones in busy cafes that need to be able to brew large volumes at a time). Why not at least a glass window on these? Wouldn't have to be standard, it could just be an option... I don't know how you get around the paper filter part... I guess just reshape the filter.

Brady if you could track down any pictures that would be awesome. I've tried and tried and tried and can't find any. Was the thing actually what I am proposing here or is it just a see through spouted? (Which is still really cool...)

It just seems like with as geeky as we all are this would have happened by now, especially Jeremy's fiber optic idea.

-bry

Brady said:
Illy did it a couple of years ago:

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1209

Sounds interesting, though we haven't heard any more about it in the intervening 2 years, so perhaps we didn't learn as much from it as we'd hope?
In retrospect, I'm not sure that much could be gleaned from a top-down view —aside from being able to identify pin-holing, side-channeling, et al., that is.

Bryan Wray said:
(...) It just seems like with as geeky as we all are this would have happened by now, especially Jeremy's fiber optic idea.

-bry

Oh common... as far out of the box as we are thinking in this conversation I'm sure we could come up with some side mounted stuff as well. Don't ask me how we come up with that, but perhaps that's not for us to figure out anyway, maybe we just have to offer it up? :0)

-bry

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