For as much as we love reverse engineering projects, we have to admit that we almost passed up on this “kitchen bump bar” hack. Having never had the privilege of working in the food-service industry — well, there was that time working at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but that only lasted for one shift — we were unaware of what a bump bar is, and the whys and hows of hacking one to the point where it can play Doom.
We’re glad we stuck with it, though, because [Kiwa]’s hack is pretty cool, and we got to learn a little about the technology of the modern commercial kitchen. Most fast food and family casual restaurants have what’s known as a “kitchen display system”, which relays orders from the wait staff to the kitchen. You’ve probably seen parts of the KDS, like the touch screens used by the wait staff to enter orders, or the screens dangling in the kitchen that display the pending orders. A bump bar is a small terminal used by the kitchen crew to review orders and move them around in the queue, or “bump” them, as needs dictate.
The bump bar [Kiwa] dug into appears to be a model from the early 2000s and very sturdily built, as anything used in a kitchen would need to be. Hooked up to a monitor and a keyboard, [Kiwa] discovered that it booted right into an OS with all the familiar trappings of DOS. After a detour for a teardown and dumping the flash contents, [Kiwa] was able to boot it up and run Doom, albeit somewhat slowly. It also looks like he’s got a couple of different Windows versions running, and even played some Solitaire.
Thanks to [Fritnando] for the tip.