Hello, and welcome back to today’s episode of “Why? LOL BECAUSE WE CAN.”
Tired of your dumb old microwave that just shoots friggin’ radio waves at food to cook it? Stupid thing probably can’t even play animated GIFs or send Snapchats or download the Fergie. What’s the point?
In the coolest mod I’ve seen in ages, developer Nathan Broadbent has hacked away at his microwave to add stuff that any self-respecting microwave manufacturer of the year 2013 should have probably added themselves. Voice commands! Barcodes that pre-set cooking times! A SELF SETTING CLOCK.
Meet the Raspberry Picrowave. As you might’ve gathered from the name, it’s a Microwave mashed up with a Raspberry Pi, the $25 micro-computer adored by modders, hackers, and geeks ’round the world
Here’s what it can do so far:
- Clock sets/updates itself across the Internet
- A barcode scanner pulls cooking instructions from an online database. Such a database didn’t actually exist, so he’s building one himself, adding directions as he goes.
- Voice Commands, like “Microwave, Twenty seconds, Low.” (Alas, Nathan says his kitchen’s acoustics screw this up a bit.)
- Custom sound effects (because beeps are for chumps).
- You can control the microwave from your phone. The only uses I can think of for this are: when you know you’ll want microwaved popcorn later and can preload a bag, or when you want to convince your friends that you’re the biggest geek on the planet because you have a microwave that you can control with your phone.
- It tweets when it’s done cooking, because of course it does.
If nothing else, man oh man do I want that self-setting clock. My (two-year old) microwave uses the most ridiculous and impossibly obfuscated series of button presses for clock setting, so a power outage at my house generally means at least three months of the microwave swearing that it’s blink-thirty.
Stuffing a Pi into your microwave is cool and all, but the scale of the project gets a whole lot more impressive once he starts getting into the deeper details, from wiring the Pi into the microwave’s power supply, to designing a new control panel, to etching and producing a custom PCB that fits in the place of the original.