Hue is a toaster that 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.
Trailer and walkthrough of using Hue.
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.
Thermochromatic Paint Test
Tests using two different pigments
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.