Repairing and Adding Bluetooth Control to an Induction Cooker

When his 6 years old induction cooker recently broke, [Johannes] decided to open it in an attempt to give it another life. Not only did he succeed, but he also added Bluetooth connectivity to the cooker. The repair part was actually pretty straight forward, as in most cases the IGBTs and rectifiers are the first components to break due to stress imposed on them. Following advice from a Swedish forum, [Johannes] just had to measure the resistance of these components to discover that the broken ones were behaving like open circuits.

He then started to reverse engineer the boards present in the cooker, more particularly the link between the ‘keyboards’ and the main microcontroller (an ATMEGA32L) in charge of commanding the power boards. With a Bus Pirate, [Johannes] had a look at the UART protocol that was used but it seems it was a bit too complex. He then opted for an IOIO and a few transistors to emulate key presses, allowing him to use his phone to control the cooker (via USB or BT). While he was at it, he even added a temperature sensor.

Indio Picaro Doll Mixes Drinks…

pissCO

Ever heard of the Indio Picaro doll? They are those kinda weird phallic statues, and they also happen to be a national joke in Chile. So hackers [Nathan] and [Pablo] decided to make use of its popularity for a hilarious drink serving robot (Translated) at this past weekends Santiago Mini Maker Faire.

Dubbed the PissCO, the bartending robot(s?) make use of eight Bartendro drink pumps, which is a system that was successfully funded on Kickstarter at the beginning of the year. Add some servos to make the little statues dance and swing around their… Anyway the whole system is probably one of the most unique cocktail mixing robots we’ve seen yet.

After all, who doesn’t want a drink served from a stainless steel basin that looks vaguely like a urinal?

Stick around after the break to uh, see it in action.

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Flying RC Toaster

flying toaster

Do you remember that screen saver from the 80’s of flying toasters? Well the guys over at Flite Test just made a real flying toaster.

The first challenge was converting a toaster to run off batteries, which [David] accomplished by splitting the elements in the 110V toaster into 4 segments, and running them off of 6-cell LiPo — when the toaster is on, it draws almost 700W. The next question was — how much of an effect does air flow have on a toaster’s ability to toast? As it turns out, not that much! They tested the system by driving down the street holding a toaster out of the passenger window of the car, and while they got some strange looks, they also successfully toasted the bread.

The next step was making a plane capable of carrying the extra batteries, and a bulky, not-so-aerodynamic toaster. This was probably the easiest part, as they have made a flying 20kg cinder block before. Needless to say, making a toaster capable of flight was not much of a challenge.

Our favorite part of the video is the test flight, where [Josh] wears a POV visor system to, wait for it… watch the bread toasting. Check it out after the break!

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Wireless Keurig Hack!

coffeemaker

[Kolumkilli] loves his Keurig coffee maker, as it makes him an excellent cup of coffee, but he doesn’t like waiting for it to brew. So he set out to make it wirelessly controlled via his computer… with the press of a button, he can have his coffee ready and waiting for him when he gets up.

After carefully dismantling his Keurig, he set to locating the main buttons on the PCB, and proceeded to wire in relays in parallel to the ones he wanted to control. Throw in a Moteino and add the notification LEDs as inputs as well and now he can control and monitor almost all the coffee maker’s functions via a web browser at his desk. Now if only he could remember to put a new coffee cup in…

There’s a great writeup on the forum post, so if you want to see a more detailed build log, check it out! And if you’re looking to add even more functionality to your Keurig, why not run a waterline to it?

[Thanks Felix!]

Robots of BarBot 2013

barbot

Here’s an amazing conference we really wish we could have been at — Barbot 2013: a celebration of booze serving robotic masterpieces.

Lucky for us though, the folks over at Evil Mad Scientist did have the opportunity to attend — and they took lots of pictures. There is just so much awesome it is hard to pick our favorite barbot, but the one shown above is definitely a contender. It’s the Schrödinger’s Martini. While the box is closed, the amount of vermouth poured is indeterminate until observed. Classic.

Another one that popped out at us was the 500SW, which became more affectionately known as Dance Dance Intoxication, which apparently judged you based on your dancing skills and then poured you a drink — appropriate to your moves.

Click through and see for yourself, but here’s a couple other related posts from our past, remember the Cooler Master Advanced Beer Delivery System? How about the amazing conveyor belt driven, alcohol dispensing Inebriator? There are just so many ways to have fun with the concept it’s hard not to try your hand at building one at home.

Grow your own coffee beans

beans

Unlike T-shirts, sneakers, cell phones, children’s toys, software, appliances, virtually everything made of plastic, and food, people really seem to care about who makes their coffee. Instead of buying guilt-free free trade coffee, [spikec] over on Instructables decided to actually do something to uproot the evils of consumerism. He’s making his own coffee, at home, with a real coffee plant.

[spikec] bought a coffee plant a few years ago off eBay. Coffee plants are actually trees, and with careful pruning they can be maintained to a reasonable size. But what about the weather? Well, for [spikec], who lives in the 7a USDA hardiness zone – a strip that runs from southern New Jersey to the Texas panhandle – he just brings the plant inside when it’s cold.

Once the coffee fruit turns ripe, [spikec] picks the beans, husks the fruit, and puts the beans in a dehydrator. From there, it’s a trip through a small coffee roaster and into a french press.

[spikec] only harvested about a half pound of beans. That’s still very impressive for growing a bonsai coffee tree a thousand miles outside its native range.

Monitoring a coffee pot with an Arduino

coffee graph

Coffee has always been an important part of the internet; the first webcam ever was in the Trojan Room of the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory to monitor the contents of a coffee pot. Now, instead of webcams, we have Arduinos and a bathroom scale. Not particularly similar to a webcam, but more than enough to keep track of how much coffee is currently available at DoES Liverpool.

Being a techy workshop/studio, coffee is always in short supply at DoES Liverpool. Instead of getting up and checking the pot, [Patrick] thought it would be a good idea to monitor the contents of a coffee pot online. He’s doing this with a bathroom scale underneath the coffee machine connected to an Arduino Ethernet module. By measuring the weight of the coffee pot and subtracting the known empty weight, [Patrick] can get a pretty good idea of how much coffee is left in the pot, and how long the coffee has been sitting there.

The data from the Arduino is fed to an Xively feed that displays the current status of the coffee machine on any computer with an Internet connection. Far more sophisticated than the first webcam ever, and a very useful tool for everyone at DoES Liverpool.