Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rethinking Interfaces, Microwave Edition

Most of us have microwave ovens in our homes. Touchpad interface, a clock, a timer, limited ability to customize the cooking process.

Consider what it would take to run a cook sequence like this: 2 minutes on high, 5 minutes at 70%, 17 minutes at 40%, rest for 3 minutes, then ring the bell.

Then add in a voice command like some most cell phones now have. Customizable buttons for functions you use a lot. Internet clock so you don't have to set the clock every time the power goes off. The ability to reference a microwave cooking database online and auto program a cooking sequence.

This is available on no microwave oven ever.

So this guy made one. Used Raspberry Pi. The link has the technical details, if you're interested. Here a video demonstration of how it worked out.


Eric Wilner said...

I still miss the classic UI, with a slider for power and a knob for time.
But, this is getting into "easy again" territory. Voice commands, if they work well, get around the problem of trying to pack too many features into too few buttons - "Your new Flurbydoodle 9500 personal doohickey features our patented one-button interface! To begin using it, simply enter your WiFi password in Morse code!"
And having a barcode-indexed database is a great idea, at least for those who often nuke set quantities of things that come with barcodes.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

Does it have an altimeter and hygrometer? Also a detector to know exactly what the horn's output is? If it does not have these 3 things then cooking times are going to be non optimal.

The big problem with automation is that people use it, yes I am a grognard why do you ask? Anyway as the emitter horn ages, the power level drops off and it takes longer to cook. More humidity, longer cook time, similarly with atmospheric pressure, differences add up.

Then you have to deal with the liability of people undercooking food (but I scanned the turkey's bar code before I brined it them dipped it in liquid helium, just because it super conducts I have to add 3 hours to the cooking time???)

Updating recipes from the intarwebs is also a v.bad idea, what happens when the database gets hacked and all decimal points are shifted right 1? And how would you stop your ISP from tracking what you cooked? Hey Bob... did you notice that 1313 Mocking bird l aka aka 87:1c:34:e2:f3:6c) hasn't eaten any pork for 2 months? Yeah maybe they gone towel head... put em on the no fly list...

ASM826 said...


"And how would you stop your ISP from tracking what you cooked? "

Now you sound like me. Maybe the insanity is catching.

R.K. Brumbelow said...


I am far more paranoid both by training and genetics than you will ever publicly be. (Read that again and you will see the humour /if/ you missed it) so if anything my patient number is lower. :p

Heck somewhere I still have a t-shirt a friend in Maryland sent me that says (from 1998)
"Why trust SELinux: Because someone has to have the keys and we already do."

I was going to have T-shirts printed for my fundraising that said "it is not 'are you paranoid' but rather 'are you paranoid enough'" on one side and on the other say "Why yes I have a brain tumour and Amygdalar erosion, what's your excuse?" But I came to realize no one gave a -redacted- about the /fnords/.