Even the best toasters are inconsistent and unpredictable.
Unpredictable on First UseThe majority of toasters measure toast based on time yet with zero standards or consistency between brands, models, and toasters, how do you know whether "2", "4", or "5" is the right setting on the first attempt?
Inconsistent Results Every TimeWith dozens of variable factors such as type of bread, climate, and more, time becomes an incalculable measurement and each attempt to toast a slice of bread a gamble requiring users to anxiously hover over their device.
Filled with Stopgap FeaturesTop selling toasters include features like "bagel", "frozen", and "lift and look" but all of these simply act as band-aids to cover up the root of the problem: toasters are blind to their contents and their users don't trust them.
Hue harnesses the power of an array of color sensors via a simple interface in order to intuitively and smartly toast bread to that perfect shade of golden brown.
Simple, Adaptable, & Worry-freeWhat you see is what you get. Hue has the ability to see color the way you do so toast is browned to precisely the color you've set regardless of variations in time, climate, or more. By providing a constant feedback loop, toasting only stops once the sensors hit their mark.
No Extra ModesHue adapts with no extra settings. No need to hit the "frozen" button; because bread only caramelizes once it reaches around 340°F, it doesn't begin browning until it has completely thawed and heated back up and the sugars begin breaking down.
Any Bread Works GreatBy detecting bread color at the start, Hue toasts by percent difference leaving it unphased by even darker breads like pumpernickel or rye. With bagels, the sensors pickup on the color difference between the two sides and adjusts the heat proportionally.
A simplified electronic prototype of a single toasting slot was created and run by a processing sketch that connects to an arduino and color sensor in order to output the sensor's data into the background color of processing's drawn canvas. Pressing the spacebar while running the sketch saves and compares between two values. Check out the code on Github.
During the concept and ideation phase, the focus of the project narrowed down on the expression of color and change. Further investigation led towards various paints and lighting processes which yielded the concept of using thermochromatic ink.
First pass at playing with thermochromatic ink and a heat gun to test. The black paint changes to clear and the pink to blue. The last cut shows a double layer of paint: regular black with circles left unpainted, and then a full top coat of the thermochromatic. Because a toaster is both dark and cold when off and transitions to bright and hot, it made for an ideal candidate for that paint.
After completely disassembling a commercial toaster and building cardboard prototypes, it became clear that the thin nichrome wire heating element actually could afford for translucent sections in the casing with the help of double-paned glass.
The perforations on the exterior shell of the device only appear once the toaster heats past 90°. The internal light of the heating element then shines through and reinforces the concepts of color, light, and change.