Smart devices are the “in thing” now, from smartphones to smartwatches and smart cars, most devices today are now built to be smart enough to think as we do which is the primary motive for inventing them, and fresh in the stables of these smart devices is an invention from Shahir Rahman, a 15-year-old living in Oregon.
Born out of a desire to improve cooking, prevent burns and create better food, Shahir has invented a smart microwave that is smart enough to know what it is cooking and to get that food to a set temperature, but also cheap enough that it could be replicated and manufactured for many people to use. And his project won’t have been much of a success without the assistance of his father, an engineer at Intel and his co-workers.
The straight-A-high school student started by dissecting a used microwave and studying how it worked and how it directed heat to different spots inside while he used a temperature gun to measure homemade and restaurant meals to create temperature profiles for a variety of foods.
He also learned Python and advanced math concepts in order to write the necessary algorithms that would identify the food and calculate how long and how hot it would need to be warmed. Then, he sought the support of his parents’ co-workers at Intel who gave him the tools and mentorship needed to move the project forward.
His invention now uses an infrared Panasonic thermopile array sensor, a low-cost, low-resolution sensor that can detect the food’s temperature without touching it, and the virtual food profiles that he programmed on a microchip that can calculate the ideal temperature and cook time. Time remaining and temperature can be monitored with the user’s smartphone as the food cooks. A few tweaks to the circuitry is the final step, but Shahir hopes that in the future the microwave can also detect fires before they happen and will be able to identify the food without any input from the user.
We have seen inventions of this sort from teenagers lately and we expect to see more as technology continues to rise and expand around us.
Click this link to watch his video.