Front view of the beverage display.
The "brains" of the fridge, from top: Pi camera, electromagnet, Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno (back).
Removing a drink triggers a limit switch, as indicted by a blue LED.
Have you ever had your friends over, only to find your fridge mysteriously empty hours later? Hack a Cold One is an internet of things smart fridge in order to alleviate this issue. The fridge manages inventory, access, and transactions through a combination of different technologies to solve this problem!
What it does
- Face detection for unlocking
- Tracks the status of drinks inside
- Inventory management
- Processes payments
How we built it
Hack a Cold One is a internet of things smart fridge. A Raspberry Pi is used as the central control unit for the fridge connect with a plethora of sensors through an Arduino Uno and a camera module. The Uno uses digital I/O pins to connect to the four switches beneath the drinks, and acts as a digital switch for the electromagnetic switch. The Raspberry Pi communicates with a middle tier server hosted through a web tunnel on our laptop. The mid tier will then manage all the information about units and door lock information, then return information to the Pi and the front created in Angular. The client will manage separate Microsoft API calls that are synced with the Raspberry Pi.
Challenges we ran into
The electromagnet, which requires a fairly high current and voltage to operate, required significant tinkering to operate successfully. We occasionally found ourselves locked out of our own fridge! There was also huge issues connecting all the technologies together.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Utilization of multiple technologies and hardware to create a smart fridge. The fridge successfully operates as intended. We were able to integrate hardware with software and ensure smooth communication.
What we learned
None of us had experience using Arduinos to collect sensor data, especially in the context of serial communication with a Raspberry Pi. We learned how to communicate with our hardware, and how to power an electromagnet.
What's next for Hacking A Cold One
Improved security, speed improvements, and retail production.