Blast to the past. Justin G and Kristy are messaging each other about silly hackathon ideas. They consider the prospect of a toaster related hack. They think about it for a few months. They think about it for a few more months. They grab the muse headband, the nearest Joseph, and Justin C to get working on mind-controlled toasting.
Everyone on the team has had a growing interest in doing a hardware-based hack, and so when we came up with the idea to involve a toaster which tries to reduce stress everyone was excited to tackle it.
What it does
In order to start the toaster automatically, the user must be stressed out about something. Perhaps a CS245 proof or CS246 assignment 3 could be the source of stress. These brainwave emissions will be picked up by the Muse headband, which will then send a signal to the toaster to begin toasting. This helps to try and relax those who are stressed out by receiving some fresh toast.
How we built it
Using features from the SDK, the Muse headband returns EEG values which correspond to brain activity. Once the brain is over a certain threshold for a given amount of time, a flag is updated on a server which the raspberry pi is checking on. Once the flag is set, the pi will begin to spin its motors which have been attached to the toaster.
Challenges we ran into
A challenge we encountered was the strength of the servos and motors. They were not powerful enough to pull down the lever of the toaster. We tried to replace the spring within the toaster to make it lighter and easier to push down. There was a metal section we also tried to bend to make the lever easier, but we accidentally broke and panicked for an hour because we broke the toaster. lol.
Furthermore, the Muse c++ SDK is more disastrous than my gpa. Nothing could actually send information out of the example project and to the API :( we tried a lot of different options. Thus we have manually started up a script the same time as the muse to mimic this behavior.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
None of us had worked on a hardware project in the past. We're proud of what we learned in this short period!
What we learned
Coming out of this hackathon, we know much more about how to work with hardware such as the raspberry pi, breadboards, servos/motors, and the inner workings of toasters.
What's next for Focus Toastus
Eating some toast in celebration.