It feels like I just finished writing up my introductory post about the Pi Chef Design Challenge, but in actuality, more than eleven weeks have passed, and what a wonderful eleven weeks it has been. I have been eagerly awaiting each project update from the first posts on January 13th, 2018 by James O’Gorman (aspork42) to the challenge’s last post on April 16th, 2018, coincidentally by James O'Gorman as well. This challenge has been one of my favorites, and as I do at the end of every challenge, I am going to give it a quick rundown and offer some of my thoughts on the outcome. So with that said, let’s take a moment to recap what this challenge was all about.



Pi Chef Design Challenge


About The Challenge


Featured as the first design challenge of 2018, the Pi Chef Design Challenge opened for project idea submissions in October of 2017, which was met with many submissions from community members. As I mentioned earlier, the challenge is based on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model BRaspberry Pi 3 Model B SBC. Challengers have eleven weeks to develop their project and share their progress in a series of weekly update post. By posting a minimum of ten update post, challengers become eligible to win several awesome prizes, and the chance to become one of our prestigious design challenge winners.



Entering the challenge is not limited to just the ten chosen community members though,  anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger. Here's how: Simply get buy a Raspberry Pi 3 model B and integrate it into your project, as well as post 10 blogs chronicling your project’s progress into the Pi Chef Design Challenge space (tagging your blogs 'IoT on Wheels'). All Challengers must build their projects in accordance with the Challenge's terms and conditions, and all projects must include the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.



The Official Kit, and The Prizes


On January 10, 2018, Element14 announced the 15 community members that were picked to participate in this challenge, and those challengers received a kit of sponsored components to use in their design which was based around the Raspberry Pi 3. If you would like to purchase the official kit, click here.


Each kit contains the following items:

To learn more about each of these components or to purchase them to use in your own project, visit the official kit announcement at the links above.


Each challenger is competing to win one of three prize packs that feature the following prizes:

Grand Prize

        • Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
        • $1500 USD Newark element14 / Premier Farnell Cart


        • Whynter Ice-Cream Maker
        • $750 USD Newark element14 / Premier Farnell Cart

Third Place

        • Breville Tea Maker
        • $500 USD Newark element14 / Premier Farnell Cart

A finisher who has completed their project used the Raspberry Pi, posted 10+ updates in the Pi Chef space and adhered to the requirements in the Terms and Conditions will receive a mystery package of element14/Premier Farnell products valued at $65 USD.


The Judges

Judging for the Pi Chef Design Challenge will be performed by a Specialist Judge from the Raspberry Pi Foundation as well as a few Community Judges from the Element14 Team.


For any general questions about the challenge, judging or anything else, you can post a 'comment' on the About This Challenge page. Your fellow Challengers or anyone following the challenge are likely to respond.


The Challengers and Their Projects

I have listed out each project with a link to its respective challenger’s profile page. Below each project is a brief description of the project in its creator's own words. I will update this info once project names have been set in stone, and their blog pages created.


Adrian will be building a smart robotic arm that takes all the effort out of adding freshly cracked black pepper to your meal.


Amol will be building a smart scale that will determine your Protein, Fats, and Carbs for each meal.


AnnaLisa will be creating a combined XY Cookie dough plotter and oven to create custom CNC cookies.


Avner will be building a friendly Smart Scale and cooking system that holds your hand while guiding you through the cooking process.


Bernhard will be using a Panasonic Grid Eye, Computer vision and the Raspberry Pi to create a smart kitchen heat sensor system.


Budiman will be building a system that uses computer vision to check food stocks, helps you plan meals, then orders more stocks when used.


Drew will be building a remote IoT Heat sensor using Nio platform and a mobile interface to check if you/elderly relatives have left the stove on.


A multi-device controller using ESP8266 and Modbus TCP control that could repurpose any kitchen appliance as a smart IoT device.


James will be building a Smart Range Hood for his partner with air quality sensors and a MQTT “Dinner is ready” message system.


John is upgrading his existing cabinates with a Flipdown Kitchen Console (KCON) with Voice recognition, touchscreen and a library of listed recipes.


Jonathan is creating a Kitchen sensor unit that will monitor oven and food temperatures with a heads up display and A NFC sync tab.


Justin will be expanding and improving his iTender Automatic Cocktail maker prototype with Recipes, Cooling, NFC and Interface.


Karthic is building a set of Smart Shelves for stocks control with NFC containers, Connected Scales and Voice control.


Marks project is a Cloud infrastructure based Freezer and chill room Monitoring System to help protect his family’s restaurants from disaster.


A refrigerator conscience Kitchen Assistant, that uses computer vision to track and deter food waste and missed food expiration dates.



The Winners




The Finishers


In addition to the winners listed above, the following challengers also received a tool prize pack for completing the challenge by posting ten or more progress blogs and using A Raspberry Pi in their project. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the finish line, and I want to encourage those who did not finish, to complete their project if they have time, and share the results. I would really like to see how everyone’s project turns out!



I haven’t gone back and checked, but I think that this may be the most projects that have ever successfully made it to the finish line, and the quality of the updates was for the most part, excellent. The challengers impressed me with their perseverance and their ability to implement what I thought were pretty ambitious plans. While every project that made it to the finish line was impressive, a few simply stood out to me a little more than the rest. I have listed each of these below.



Project: The Cooker Connector by Jonathan Schooler (jschools)



The cooker connector was originally slated to be a hands-free, cloud-based, all-in-one BBQ smoker information center, but after learning that a company had just released the exact thing he wanted to build, Jonathan was forced to pivot his project in a new direction. To do this he refocused his efforts into building a system that would actually let him control his smoker’s temperature remotely. This would allow him to retain the project’s name, as well as still build something to help him prepare deliciously smoked meat.


It seems that every design challenge has at least one project that lends some form of knowledge to me on a project I am working on at the time. This project’s new direction was something I had been thinking about for a few months. With the approaching spring and summer seasons, I would be doing a lot of BBQing, and having the ability to remotely control my reverse offset smoker’s temperature had been on my mind, and I realized that I could use a similar system to control my smoker.


I haven’t gotten around to building my own version of this system yet, but the effort and hard work that Jonathan put into this project has really inspired me and given me a direction to pursue when the time is right. I knew from about the fourth update that this project would be somewhere in the top three, and I was right, The Cooker Connector placed second as the runner-up, and its a very fitting place for this project. If you have not read through this project from the beginning, click the link above, and check it out.



Project: Smart Range Hood  by - James O'Gorman (aspork42 )



In what is one of the most polished finished projects I have seen in my four years of covering the design challenges, Jame O’Gorman’s Smart Range Hood is one of the definitive examples of what a great project can be. When this project first crossed my radar, I felt that James was being quite ambitious with the project’s goals, but was I ever wrong! Over the next fifteen weeks, some of the best project updates I have read were posted by James, and it seemed like his momentum never slowed down.


This project had it all, 3D printing, thermal imaging, custom PCB design, sheet metal work, touch screen integration, and more all the while becoming a new father halfway through. Each week we had the pleasure of reading a well thought out update post that was highly educational, and anyone who reads my updates knows how much I value a well-written blog post. Check out James’ video above, and then head over to his blog page to begin reading each update from the beginning.



Project: The Spice of Pi by - Douglas Wong (dougw) and Glenn Vander Veer (glennvanderveer)



There were so many projects I wanted to feature in this third spot, but I could not end this summary without highlighting a first for the Design Challenge series. Not only did this challenge have several non-sponsored challengers, we had our first challenger team. Made of up Douglas Wong, and Glenn Vanderveer, Project The Spice of Pi set out to become the world's first Raspberry Pi powered spice rack. Doug would handle the electronic hardware, and mechanical build, while Glenn would handle all of the coding duties. The end result was what you would expect from a project with Doug’s name attached to it, but what made it even more awesome was the brains behind the code that made the whole project function.


Douglas said that he wanted to get a new member involved in the Design Challenges, and he definitely succeeded in accomplishing that goal. The Spice Of Pi was one excellent update after another, and both members of the team gave it their all. This is another project that should be read from the beginning, so click here for Doug’s updates, and here for Glenn’s.



Weekly Summaries About This Challenge

  1. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: Intro to the Pi Chef Design Challenge
  2. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: January 14 - January 20, 2018
  3. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: January 21 - January 27, 2018
  4. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: January 28 - February 3, 2018
  5. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: February 4th - February 10th, 2018
  6. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: February 11th - February 17th, 2018
  7. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: February 18th - February 24th, 2018
  8. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: February 25th - March 3rd, 2018
  9. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: March 4th - March 10th, 2018
  10. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: March 11th - March 17th, 2018
  11. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: March 18th - March 24th, 2018
  12. Design Challenge Weekly Summary: March 25th - April 1st, 2018
  13. Pi Chef Design Challenge Design Challenge Summary