Inspiration A person who makes and eats instant ramen tends not to be the type who is a culinary expert. For many, it might be their first time making a meal away from home, during their early semesters of university education. Even when it comes to boiling water, such a task may be complex, and even outright dangerous, for such a person. Furthermore, the process of making ramen is rather tedious, as one waits for water to slowly boil.
What it Does We decided to eliminate many of the potential problems, described above, by creating an automated ramen cooking process. This process was automated to the point where one could start cooking the meal with a tap of a button on their phone.
How We Built It This system was created by effectively reverse-engineering a cheap coffee maker bought from a nearby Walmart. Through some experimentation, we realized that the water heating element was controlled through a timing system, and could easily be replaced with a relay and microcontroller acting as a driver. We decided to use both the DragonBoard410c and the 96 Boards Sensor Mezzanine in order to drive this relay. This DragonBoard410c would be activated through HTTP POST requests sent from an iPhone app, developed to specifically order ramen. In addition to this, we added an array of neopixels to act as a status bar on the machine itself.
Challenges we ran into The initial reverse engineering was not easy to complete, since finding and configuring materials and electronics to fit the coffee maker was a challenge.
Accomplishments We are quite proud of taking a coffee machine, and with the application of some cheap materials and development boards, were able to successfully complete the task of automating the cooking of instant ramen, as well as its repeatability.
What we learned We learned about the inner workings of a coffee maker, and how rewarding a little reverse-engineering can be.