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Hacked Microwave Scans Food Barcodes To Get Cooking Instructions

Hacked Microwave Scans Food Barcodes To Get Cooking Instructions
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A home-made gadget responds to voice commands to make cooking even easier.

Ross Brooks
  • 15 july 2013

Tired of keying in commands for his microwave to follow, Nathan Broadbent decides to program his so it could accept voice commands – as well as scan the product barcode to decide how long it should be cooked for.

Broadbent is a Ruby On Rails developer in his professional life, as well as his personal life. These skills combined with the hacker’s favorite micro-computer (Raspberry Pi), was what allowed him to turn a regular microwave into something special.

A couple of the Raspberry Pi Microwave’s features include voice commands, a clock that updates itself using the internet and even custom sound effects for those who don’t find the factory-set beep all that palatable.

The most impressive of these however – is the barcode scanner that can pull cooking instructions from an online database, meaning you don’t even have to set the microwave half the time. What’s more impressive is the fact that there was no such database in existence, so Broadbent decided to build one of his own.

While it would have been enough to include all these custom features, Broadbent also made it possible to control the microwave using your phone.

raspberry-pi-microwave-3

One possible use is pre-loading a meal that you can start cooking when hunger strikes from another room – the microwave will even send you a Tweet when your food is ready, just in case you don’t hear the beep.

There’s no denying this is a complicated project to pull off, but the convenience could be reason enough to give it a try. There’s even a video on Broadbent’s of explaining some of the finer details and cooking – wait for it – a raspberry pie.

raspberry-pi-microwave

Nathan Broadbent

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