Build HAL into your kitchen

Instead of building a $500 iPad into a cabinet [Gojimi] used the old hardware he had lying around to building this kitchen computer. He did buy a few items such as a used touchscreen and a bar code scanner but the 2 GHz computer was just collecting dust. It’s running Windows XP, talks to you like HAL or KITT, and scans the bar codes on food as you add it to the pantry or using it for meals. The lengthy video after the break covers all of the features, such as Weight Watcher’s calculations, food information, recipe book, unit converter, weather forecast, browser, and digital picture frame. It seems to have more features than the iPhone kitchen lookalike but it also looks dauntingly complicated. But we still want one.


  1. Mahoney says:

    I concur that I totally want one.

  2. sm10sm20 says:

    Well done! Looks like allot of work went into this project, the hardware is great but the software is all very impressive for only a few months of work.

  3. Why not add the barcode scanner underneath the top part so it looks nicer?

  4. AtkinsSJ says:

    Hmmm, makes me think that there needs to be an online database of products and barcodes, that things like this can then connect to, so you don’t need to manually add data for each thing.

  5. Ren says:

    A 2GHz computer just collecting dust?
    Not in this house!

  6. Pete says:

    iHAD no iDEA an iPAD could be iHAD for so little. iSTILL don’t want one though.

  7. okay says:

    Annoying text-to-voice though, i would mute that machine immidiatly

  8. Dan says:

    That’s an awesome start. I think I would change things a bit, have the scanner in a counter, like a in a supermarket.

    As for barcode scanning he could make an API call to amazon and find out exactly what the product is without having to enter in the details manually.

  9. Logicdustbin says:

    interesting, I was in the middle of working on my kitchen, when I decided to take a break to surf Hack A day:

    I got a hold of a industrial touch screen panel view. currently it is a pentium 4 running XP (how powerful does a kitchen computer need to be :P)

    I just need to find a nice touch screen interface for kitchen use (don’t think I want one that talks)

    /still have to pour one more slab of concrete to finish the counter top; would have posted here, if my wife let me put fibre optics in the counter top :(

  10. Ryan says:

    I kept thinking to myself that this would be much simpler running Android. Awesome work, I would love to make one of these myself.

  11. Ivan says:

    @AtkinsSJ: There is one at, but I guess it’s just hard to keep it updated. Although people can contribute. I agree that nutritional data for food and other important data should be included as well.

  12. Ivan says:

    Ah.. there’s also another one here: but I’m still haven’t been able to find the bag of bagels I have in front of me in any of those. Hehe.

  13. Paul B. says:

    sooooo, I totally want to build one for my kitchen! :) any plans to release the software? I cant code… :( or anyone know where I can download the software? i didn’t see any links. VERY nice build man :D

  14. vonskippy says:

    Can’t imagine the wife giving that cabinet the go ahead.

  15. jon says:

    why not just a web cam to take pictures of new products as they are scanned and then enter in the rest of the info from a another computer that is better set up for data entry

  16. Concino says:

    This is pretty cool. I specifically like the user interface he created with .NET. It would be fantastic if it was open-source.

  17. charan says:

    gr8 job ! love the interface – ui is cool and wonderful concept for maintenance. want to build one myself…

  18. pall.e says:

    I really want to build both a htpc and a kitchen computer so I have been planning to do both at the same time. I want to get a nanovision mimo touchscreen monitor with the webcam. Run a single usb cable from the kitchen to the living room. (I have yet to live in a real house where the kitchen is far away from the living room and don’t see the happening in the forseeable future). And use the webcam as the scanner. And also be able to control my media from the kitchen. Have yet to do it b/c of budget and current transient nature (moving every three months) but on my to do list. Keep posting kitchen computers, I really appreciate the ideas.

  19. hypest says:

    Please excuse the shameless plug :)

    I’ve been developing a website exactly to fill my need to log stuff (mainly purchases and shopping lists) around a kitchen environment. The UI was touch-oriented right from the beginning (think Nokia tablets and touchphones).

    have a look over at

    Building a kitchen terminal like the posted one is always in the back of my head…

    have fun ;)

  20. Icarus says:

    I’d put the monitor on a counter, a bit like Logicdustbin. I would definitely put a glass capacitive screen cover instead, not only because it looks nicer, but also because anyone who tried to clean their laptop’s lcd would agree that the edges are a bitch to clean.
    Like the voice thing, but you really should put a mute button.
    Very nice project!

    Looking forward to building mine soon

  21. catzburg says:

    I can’t believe you have all forgotten the power of google. Just google a UPC code and all will be revealed.

  22. Logicdustbin says:


    this is why I like the industrial touch screen, they can take quite a beating.

    although I’m sure it is no where near as good, or responsive as the touch screens you can buy today, but for the kitchen application, I think it will work quite nicely.

  23. Al says:

    Yeah yeah its all laughs until ..

    “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

  24. Ren says:

    It is sad to know your wife didn’t go with FO in the counter top…
    If you cut antique tin to mount the screen, I could see where she’d be upset.
    How are you planning to frame it?
    Are you planning an under counter keyboard?

  25. DeAndre says:

    It should have a scale for fresh produce. An optional wireless keyboard would be a nice addition too. Otherwise an awesome machine. You should go into business selling these.

  26. Val says:

    Of course then people will be hacking into your kitchen to pull the old “is your refrigerator” running joke. Expect for now, it will be driving down the road, and they’ll be haxor stealing your beer.

  27. Val says:

    ops it messed up what I meant to say was

    It does look Daunting to enter all that shit.

    Just think though. Once companies jump on board, and you can update bar codes from across the net, all that shit could be immediately downloaded and in your database.
    It’s a comming.

    Of course then people will be hacking into your kitchen to pull the old “is your refrigerator” running joke. Expect for now, it will be driving down the road, and they’ll be haxor stealing your beer.

  28. Val says:

    Of course, pair this up with a few more wireless screens around the house, say at the front door, and some RFID tags on your watch, keychain or necklace, and the white board system could be awesome. You walk in the door and it says hello $name and asks if you would like to hear your message, and so forth.

  29. redlaser says:

    dude u should totality market this you would make a million dollars!!!

  30. Derek says:

    Hi, I made a very similar thing – although I had a touchscreen mounted on a wall and all the ‘gubbins’ behind the wall.

    I used the upc-database website (downloading an update each week with a cron job to spew it into a local database).

    I also had a “What’s for dinner” button – which would interegate the database for what was in “stock” (each item had an item-type code 1-Veg 2-Alcoholic Drink 3-bathroom product etc…) and would search for the ingredients that I had and suggest recipes for dinner.

    The only problem I had was things that weren’t barcoded, or when the kids took things without first scanning them out or pressing the button on the screen to ‘remove’ it from stock ;-)

    The best thing was having an automated shopping list on my phone (wap in those days)…whilst shopping ;-)

  31. Joel says:

    Here is another similar Idea.
    You can go as large as you want and it doesnt require a computer. endless customising just by downloading any app avaliable on the ipod.

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