Dr. Stir (Will Knowlton & Graham Widmann)

For the physical computing kitchen object project, Graham and I constructed the fabulous prototype of Dr. Stir. Let us introduce you to the use of Dr. Stir, and the need for such an invention. Dr. Stir is an automatic soup stirring machine that is designed to be situated on top of a pot of soup and set to a variable stirring speed. A ladle is attached to a small yet powerful servo motor that spins the ladle in a clockwise direction in order to keep whatever is cooking from getting  uneven heat. So why should you care about this? Do you really need this? The inspiration for this project was to make the boring an arduous task of stirring that gross pot of leftover stew, a thing of the past. Soon the relentless minutes spent over a hot pot of smelly stew, pushing and pulling a ladle back and forth will be over. Almost everybody enjoys innovating ways to get around doing a laborious task, and Dr. Stir, will take up the role of soup stew-er, and the user will have more time to tend to more important things in the kitchen.

The design and components for Dr. Stir are simple. There is one Arduino Uno, one mini-breadboard, an assortment of jumper wires, a potentiometer, a neopixel strip, a power switch, foamcore, acrylic, and wooden dowels.

Much like our previous project, the Simon-Says game, the enclosure was produced using Maker Case, a clever website that will create an .SVG file for the case you want cut. All you need to input are the dimensions. Case snipIMG_0531

Inside the enclosure, is the circuitry and Arduino.



During the construction of Dr. Stir, Graham and I decided to stick a power switch on the outside of the device, and have a piece of acrylic at the top of the enclosure so that you could see into Dr. Stir. Unfortunately when drilling a hole in the acrylic to attach the potentiometer, the acrylic began to shatter.

Once Dr. Stir is plugged into the wall, just flip the heavy rocker switch to run, and turn the dial to the speed you desire.



The speed of the ladle corresponds, with the neopixels inside the box. The neopixels provide a soft glow  through the foamcore, that provides feedback as to which speed setting the ladle has been left on. All blue lights means the ladle is spinning at full speed, and all red means the ladle is not moving. Watch the video below to see the users modulation in action and how the user sees that change with the red and blue neopixels.

The code for the project is rather simple. There is no state machine, even though good code for a device like Dr. Stir might require it. If more inputs and outputs were included, we would definitely go through the process of drafting one, and implementing it into our code. One interesting thing to note about Dr. Stir, is that in order for the neopixels and the servo to work simultaneously, a special library had to be included that allows the Arduino to send and receive data from both components.

Watch ⇒Dr. Stir








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