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Pi Chef Design Challenge

12 Posts authored by: jschools
The Cooker Connector is finished! I am proud to present my final blog post of the Pi Chef Challenge, in video form. It's a summary of my project, and I take you through the steps of using it to cook pork chops. I hope you enjoy it!     Download the Code I uploaded all of my code to GitHub: https://github.com/jschools/CookerConnector . However, I have redacted google-services.json and other firebase keys from the repo, since I don't want the general public to have access to my databas ...
This post is a deep dive into my exploration of Near-Field Communication (NFC) using a Raspberry Pi running Android Things. This subject area was completely new to me - it was fascinating to learn about this new technology. Ultimately, I came up against some roadblocks that prevented me from integrating it into my Cooker Connector project, and here I will explain my journey and what I learned.   Getting a Raspberry Pi on WiFi Perhaps the most annoying thing about using a new Raspberry Pi is ...
For my project, I chose to install Android Things OS on my Raspberry Pi instead of Raspbian. This post describes the structure of my Android app that runs on it. I recommend reading my post on Android Things if you’re curious about the differences between the two operating systems and why I chose Android.   Role of the Sensor Hub The job of the Sensor Hub is to collect temperature data and to send it to the cloud whenever I'm cooking something. I use the mobile app to start a cooking ...
Today's Cooker Connector post is all about the Android App. Building a solid smartphone app is crucial to my project, since it is what allows me to monitor and control the whole show remotely. This post outlines my process and discusses the decisions I made while making the app. It does not go into technical detail about how to write an Android app -- I feel that level of detail is not relevant in this format, but I will post my code to GitHub before the end of the contest so you can take a look ...
Time is flying by! There’s less than one month left in the Pi Chef Challenge. If you’re not familiar with my Cooker Connector project, have a look at my project proposal. An essential part of my project is a Printed Circuit Board for my Sensor Hub, and it will take a few weeks to get it manufactured. This post describes my experience designing the board.   Sensor Hub I will be designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for my Sensor Hub. This is the piece that connects the thermome ...
I have been writing a lot about the hardware for my prototype. This post is a shift to the software side, and I will be describing the architecture of my back-end system at a high level. If you don’t already have a basic understanding of my Cooker Connector project, take a few minutes to catch up on my project plan.   Firebase Firebase is a platform by Google that allows you to create a back end for your application with their cloud, and it’s designed to help you do this incred ...
A few weeks back, I posted about the need to modify my project to include a new feature: temperature control. Today’s post shows how I designed and built my first prototype of a mechanism to open and close the air vents on my smoker. I think I’m ready to test it by smoking some meat!   The Weber Smokey Mountain The goal of this component of my project is to control the temperature of the air inside my smoker. I got a 14-inch Weber Smokey Mountain about a year ago, and I’ve ...
Today I’m writing about an alternative to Raspbian, which is the OS almost everyone runs on Raspberry Pi these days. The OS I’m using for my project is called Android Things, and it’s a version of Android that is specifically tailored to run on Raspberry Pi (and some other screen- and keyboard-optional boards).   Android vs. Raspbian From the developer’s perspective, Android Things is completely different from Raspbian. When you use Raspbian, you typically interact w ...
In my last post, I chose some hardware that acquires and measures temperatures. Now that I have a thermistor probe and an ADC, how should I hook them together and interpret the ADC output to get a temperature value? This post explains some theory and my thought process, in three parts.   Part 1: Theory   Voltage Divider A thermistor is a kind of variable resistor. As the temperature changes, its resistance changes. This resistance is what I have to measure using the Analog-to-Digital C ...
Have you ever thought to yourself, “What a brilliant idea! I bet no one has ever thought of this before!”? That thought very rarely turns out to be true, and it just happened to me again. Oops.   Since writing my last post, I discovered that the company that makes my temperature probes released a new product that is basically a clone of what I'm building: https://www.thermoworks.com/Smoke-Gateway. I was shocked that I didn't find it when I was doing research before the contest, ...
This post describes how I selected the components for the Sensor Hub. If you aren't familiar with my Cooker Connector project, check out my project overview here!   A Better Digital Thermometer I got the idea for this project after I bought a digital probe thermometer to use with my smoker in the back yard. I did some online research and found the DOT by ThermoWorks, and I love it. It has a digital readout of the current temperature, it beeps when the temperature reaches a configurable alar ...
Update (1/30/18): This overview is no longer accurate. I had to modify my project plan after I discovered that my original idea already exists as a product on the market. Please see my post about this change of plans here.   The Problem: When cooking for a large group of people, the pressure is on. Home cooks and professionals multitask to ensure every dish is ready to serve at the same time. Small mistakes can lead to cold or overcooked dishes, hangry guests, and wasted food.   When I ...