The World Needs a Smart Toaster

With a sensor and some processing power, it shouldn’t be hard to make a toaster that can actually make perfect toast every time. I’m astounded that such a product doesn’t exist. It wouldn’t be expensive in large quantities.

Possible sensors include

  • visual camera
  • infrared camera
  • gas sensor – Sparkfun has $5 alcohol and carbon monoxide sensors. I wonder what burnt toast “smells” like.
  • standard “darkness” knob
  • ambient thermometer

Possible controls include

  • shutting off at the right time
  • a bell to alert the consumer of soon-to-be-done toast and done-it’s-getting-cold toast
  • delivering different power levels to different parts of the bread (eh, sounds expensive and not useful)
  • changing the wattage, allowing “keep warm”, “warm throughout” (no more lava pop tarts!), and “crisp” settings

Hurdles

  • Easy to use interface
  • Technical challenge: it’s never been done!
  • Really, it’s never been done?

I should make this.

PS. Ha, this fancy $130 toaster sucks. I can do better.

2 Comments

  1. Jutta says:

    > Really, it’s never been done?

    Well, parts of it probably have.

    http://www.surrounding.com/Products/Rowenta/TOASTER.asp
    – with “Photo Sensor Browning Control”

    (Via
    http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Optical_20Eye_20Toaster ; see
    also the rest of the “Product: Toast” category.)

    If you could adjust the heating element grid at a
    fine scale – it would be spooky to pull out a slice of
    toast that has the exact same shade of brown all over.

    Mhhh, toast.

  2. lee says:

    Thanks for the input. I see the Rowenta Jasper Morrison toaster ostensibly has sensing. But $175? And wow, I just checked out the horrid horrid reviews it got on Amazon. One review starts out “A triump of form over function” Yowza!

    So this idea has been considered but one still can’t buy it in a store and have it work. And it’s totally cool that the idea’s been discussed on Half-Bakery!

    >it would be spooky to pull out a slice of toast that
    >has the exact same shade of brown all over.

    Ha! That might be true! PERFECTLY browned might be too good! There are all manner of options for drawing in toast including things like this and this.

    But I just want… you know… toast! Can’t modern science give me toast?

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