I came home after a midterm and I was really hungry. The tired me didn't want to get up and I ended up not eating dinner.... :(

We wanted to hack the Amazon Echo, so we thought about using the echo to help make food for people who do not have time to do so.

What it does

Say "Alexa make me X cups of rice." Alexa would then release the amount of rice and water into the bowl through measurements of time and start the rice cooker. Depending on the amount of rice requested, the rice cooker will set the needed amount of measurements for rice and the appropriate amount of time to make the rice. Lights will indicate when the rice is being made and finished.

The user can ask Alexa about when the rice is ready and she will give the time amount of when the rice would be ready.

How I built it

We utilized Amazon Web Services and created a Lambda function to deal with Alexa's communication with itself and the Particle Photon. We also created an Alexa skill to deal with the conversational aspects of the product. For example, we have Alexa allow users to say different variants of requesting rice, such as saying "make me 2 cups of rice" or "give me two cups of rice". On the hardware side, we have the Photon establishing a three way connection between Alexa and an Arduino Uno. This allows the machine to be automated efficiently. It also keeps an internal timer for the rice to tell when it's done. The Uno handles the servo movements, the speed control of the servos, and receive signals from the Photon. The rice cooker itself was made from several parts using a 3D modeler called onShape. This model was then 3D printed.

Challenges I ran into

We ran into problems with calibrating the motors and edge cases with Alexa. Also we had problems with trying to figure out how to mount our rice cooker properly since we weren't able to get our desired size from the 3D printer.


Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We were able to get it successfully working.

What I learned

We learned how to use all the hardware/software mentioned above. In addition, we learned to cross multiple platforms/ controllers and create communication between devices.

What's next for Echo Rice Cooker

We will move on to using the Alexa dispensers for other purposes other than to cook rice, maybe dispensing candy or maybe a self automated vending machine. The uses can potentially range from personal to business purposes. With so many paths for this product, we can have a voice automated dispenser for anything. Also we can now try it with an actual rice cooker!! :)

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