Raspberry Pi cooks up the Picrowave

How does the saying go – “Set a thief to catch a thief”? Well, this one caught my eye – use a Raspberry Pi to cook a raspberry pie! It’s a Pi-powered Microwave, that knows how to cook your food and that even talks to you.

Raspberry Pi microwave

It was highlighted on the element14.com website, and is the work of one Nathan Broadbent. He was inspired by a post on Reddit, titled: Food items should have QR codes that instruct the microwave exactly what to do. Like high for 2 minutes, let stand 1 minute, medium 1 minutes

He took this as a challenge, and – armed with a Raspberry Pi – went to work (the original and new touchpad overlays are pictured right).

But what can a Pi can bring to electromagnetic radiation-based cooking? Well, added features of the “Picrowave” that he lists include:

  • Re-designed touchpad
  • Picrowave pcb pcb_3-resized-thumbNicer sounds
  • Clock is automatically updated from the internet
  • Can be controlled with voice commands
  • Can use a barcode scanner to look up cooking instructions from an online database
  • There weren’t any online microwave cooking databases around, so I made one: http://microwavecookingdb.com
  • The microwave has a web page so you can control it from your phone (why not), and set up cooking instructions for products
  • Tweets after it’s finished cooking something (See https://twitter.com/rbmicrowave)

Check it out in action below:

Also, do see his website, the Raspberry Pi Microwave section. There is a lot of detailed information, including a look at the PCB, how he dealt with the old touchpad overlay, his management of registeers, using the WiringPi library, and much more…

For example, Nathan writes:

picrowave 2I used shift registers and optocouplers to control the touchpad pins. To listen for touchpad presses, an output shift register scans one line at a time on the first touchpad layer, and an input shift register listens for connections to the second layer.

I unsoldered the touchpad connector from the original circuit board, and replaced it with a row of pin headers. I then used the original touchpad connector on my PCB, so that my circuit acts as a kind of proxy for button presses.

Read more about the Picrowave »

He has also made all the software running on the Raspberry Pi available on GitHub. You can find it at: https://github.com/ndbroadbent/raspberry_picrowave.

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