STEM II is a class taught by Dr. Crowthers in which we work with a group to create an assistive technology device. To begin the project, we had to come up with a problem and create a device to solve it. This project helped teach us group work and problem solving.
Elderly or disabled people often have trouble using kitchen appliances safely due to not being able to see, hear, or remember well. More specifically, clients have issues with stove and oven safety. In fact, this causes fire-related injuries and harms which is the third leading cause of death for the elderly (Agesafe, 2017). For example, they may not be aware of water that is boiling or that they left the stove or oven on. The dangers that the elderly and disabled face in the kitchen prevent them from independence and put their safety at risk. The goal of this project is to create a device targeted towards the elderly and disabled, specifically those with vision, hearing, or memory loss, to alert them of a stove or oven left working.
Kitchen Kare Motion is a solution to provide kitchen safety with a wall plug that regulates the power going to the stove/oven as well as a motion sensor that detects if the user is around the stove/oven while it is working. Both devices communicate with the bracelet that allows the user to turn the stove/oven on or off. The bracelet alerts the user if the stove/oven has been on for 30 minutes and the motion sensor has detected no motion for 30 minutes.
Kitchen Kare Heat is a solution to provide kitchen safety with a wall plug that regulates the power going to the stove/oven as well as a heat sensor that detects if the stove/oven reaches an unsafe temperature while it is on. Both devices communicate with the bracelet that allows the user to turn the stove/oven on or off. The bracelet alerts the user if the stove/oven has been on for 30 minutes or the heat sensor has detected a dangerous heat level.
After further research, it was decided that the best solution would be to combine Kitchen Kare Heat and Kitchen Kare Motion to create a device that detects the temperature near the stove/oven and if their are people in the kitchen. Once the idea was decided on, research was conducted to decide the best and cheapest materials to create the device. It was decided that a BME280 sensor would be the optimal sensor to detect the temperature of the oven due to its tolerance of temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the second sensor that was chosen was the SparkFun Infrared Sensor which can be used to determine if there is someone in the kitchen. The devices to alert the user that they have left the stove or oven on were the OLED, Arduino Lights and the Arduino Small Speaker, which come with the standard Arduino Uno starter kit. Then, the Adafruit Plug was chosen as the arduino plug that the user will be able to access to remotely shut off the oven because of its easy in-built wiring in addition to its reliability and programmability as a surge protector. All of the arduino pieces were chosen to be connected via an Arduino Uno.
Once the materials were gathered, the development of the device began. First, tutorials on wiring for the arduino were researched. The wiring for the BME280 sensor was first set up, and the code was added. Once the BME280 sensor began to work, wiring and code was created for the infrared sensor. Additionally, the same process was conducted to get the alerts, light, beeper, and screen, to work. Code for a button to disable the beeping was also created. Once the wiring and code was complete for each individual section of the arduino, the pieces were combined using a breadboard. Throughout the process, many sensors such as the OLED and the BME280 had to be reconfigured from their separate codes into a consolidated code in order for successful results. Then, tutorials were researched for the wall plug and it was added to the breadboard.
The final device is a breadboard that contains the sensors, alerts, button, screen, and wall plug. Every piece is connected to one sensor and works together to alert a user that the stove or oven is left on. To the left is an image of the final product. The sensors and alerts are split up on either side of the breadboard to make it simpler to separate the devices in a future extension. The current iteration serves as a proof of concept for the eventual bracelet and to demonstrate that the system is capable of sensing, interpreting, and acting on information to protect the user from potentially dangerous kitchen appliances.