Building electronics for the kitchen may not immediately come to mind, but take a look at the huge home appliance industry and you will realize that this is the perfect place to tinker.
From robots to machine learning, there are plenty of great DIY projects for the kitchen.
1. Raspberry Pi Pico Stove Monitor
Using a combination of sensors alongside machine learning, this tiny circuit detects when your food is burning on the stove. Considering how many injuries and deaths are caused each year by fires in home kitchens, it’s a fantastic use for the inexpensive Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. What makes this project particularly exciting is the use of Sensor Fusion on the Edge Impulse platform. With the help of this machine learning software, you can build a smart system to detect different cooking states: inactive, active (cooking) and burning.
The price sensor at the heart of this experiment is The Grove – HCHO from Seeed Studio, which is used to detect VOC gases. In other words, detecting volatile organic compounds found in things like paint, new furniture and, of course, burning food. If you can’t get your hands on a Pico board, this setup will work with other RP2040 boards, such as those from Seed and Arduino.
2. OnionBot: Raspberry Pi Robot Sous Chef
Looking for a robot sous chef to help you in the kitchen? Then start with OnionBot. Designed by engineering student Ben, this Raspberry Pi project can stop a pot of water from boiling over and tell you when it’s time to add the next ingredient. It’s the kind of invention that it’s fun to imagine taking on the most boring and tedious cooking tasks. So far, it can only make tomato paste, but who knows where this open source project might go in the future!
The hardware is designed to fit on a kitchen counter and includes an overhead sensor arm with a wide-angle Raspberry Pi camera, a wide-angle thermal sensor array, plus a small air blower to solve the condensation problem. Add to the setup a servo motor to control the stove’s heating knob, and a Raspberry Pi touchscreen to display recipe prompts. A lot of work has been done on image classification to enable the machine learning model (Google AutoML). The result? A great food processor that helps automate cooking in pans.
3. Cheeseborg: An Arduino + Raspberry Pi Grilled Cheese Robot
Cheesborg is a robot that uses a vacuum arm to stack bread and cheese before forwarding it to be sterilized with butter and pushed onto a grilled sandwich press. Wait a few minutes and you have the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. What’s even better? You can control all of this with a simple Google voice command.
If this sounds like the sort of delightful robotic project you want to make, you’ll need an Arduino Mega and a Raspberry Pi, in addition to mechanical components like a stepper motor, winch, bearings, screws, etc. While there’s no tutorial you can follow, if you watching the video will give you a good idea of how the system works. Many people understand why smart homes are a good idea, but we have yet to see this in homes!
4. Fruit and vegetable ripeness detector
In this project, machine learning is used to create a functional system to detect when a vegetable or fruit is ripe. For those of us who are never quite sure when is the best time to bite into a piece of fruit, it’s a fun project to build for the kitchen counter. Otherwise, it can come in handy in a supermarket or farm, to help with production processes. Just reading about the chemistry research that went into the project makes you think it would be a great science experiment for school!
The controller used in this project is the Arduino Nano 33 IoT that allows data to be uploaded to a web application where the calculations take place. For the eyes of this project, you’ll need DFRobot’s AS7341 11-channel visible light sensor, plus a few LEDs to let you know if the fruit or veggies are okay to eat. Visit the Arduino Project Hub for everything you need to know about design.
5. Arduino Nano Temperature Coaster
Sometimes you drink your coffee too early and burn your mouth, while other times you forget about your mug altogether and leave your cold coffee behind. Well, now you don’t have to guess anymore with this handy Arduino temperature sensitive roller coaster. When your coffee is just the right temperature to drink, an LED and buzzer let you know it’s time to drink!
Using components commonly found in starter kits such as the TMP36 temperature sensor, this is a simple build that fits into a custom 3D printed coaster. Of course you can use other found materials if you don’t have a 3D printer at home. Since it uses an Arduino Nano, the parts are small enough to potentially fit in a variety of setups. You can find everything you need on the Arduino Project Hub page, in addition to the code. Keep in mind that you want to adjust the temperature thresholds to your own taste.
6. Raspberry Pi Pico Sous Vide Water Bath
If you want to add a little science to your kitchen, try making your own water bath at home. Use it to mimic expensive restaurant sous vide machines to slowly cook ingredients to perfection. This system uses a PID controller, which is a fancy way of saying that it heats and cools the water to maintain a constant temperature. Choose your heating appliance carefully and make sure it can withstand continuous power cycling.
You’ll need a Raspberry Pi Pico for this job, along with a stainless steel temperature sensor, OLED screen, a relay switch and a suitable heating device – they use a handy tool from Rommelsbacher, an immersion heater. All in all a relatively minimal setup, just follow the instructions on GitHub and you’ll be making the perfect burger in no time. If you’re looking for more projects that use this tiny microcontroller, check out our list of projects for the Raspberry Pi Pico.
7. Raspberry Pi Smart Bartender
One way to impress your guests at your next party is to build a smart bartender to pour your drinks. You can create any kind of potion by modifying the code and then using the onboard screen to select your choice.
The case is made of wood and 3D printed parts, while the brain of the operations is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. You will need some food grade silicone tubing and several pumps that run to different flavored bottles at the back. It requires a lot of wiring, but once it’s up and running, you’ll have a robot bartender for life.
DIY projects for the kitchen
If you have a taste for food and a taste for electronics, these projects are for you. Even if you don’t, it’s the perfect place to use all kinds of environmental sensors like heat, gas, and temperature. Go for a fun project or get inspired to design your own solution for a problem in the kitchen.
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