Of all the projects I have done, I can remember none that I feel could be as important as this one. If this goes well I think it can help a lot of people and do some genuine good.
This began after talking to an elderly relative who confided in me that they had left the cooktop on a few times. One time it was a pot of boiling water that was forgotten the other was not turning it off when done. I suspect there are other occurrences.
In discussing this with friends and colleagues, it became clear that this problem can affect anyone. I admit to putting a freshly washed cast iron pan on a live burner to dry it out completely and then forgetting about it. Those who enjoy adult beverages are also susceptible to this and a friend who manages a college dorm is wildly interested in how this progresses.
The solution I want to implement is a Raspberry Pi based sensor. The unit would sit on the counter or back of the stove, somewhere where the field of “vision” includes the burners. Using a touchless temperature sensor it would look for temperatures above say 95°F. Once that threshold is met a timer will start. At the one hour mark, if the 95°+ condition is still there, a gentle beep or sound will play requiring a button press to reset for another hour. This is a reminder to the user to check their meal or turn off the burner. If the user does not respond to the alarm, at the 1 hour 15 minute mark the system will send a text to whomever,(in this case me). I can then call or visit for an immediate wellness check on the person.
With smart appliances now a normal thing this feature a “care giver mode” if you will, should be implemented as a required standard safety feature that can be turned on, just like you can lock the controls of some cooktops now to prevent children from activating them.
The choice of a 95° temp would also alert the person or the chosen caregiver if the air conditioning has failed or was not turned on and dangerous ambient conditions exist.
This is a very new project that needs to be completed sooner rather than later for obvious reasons. I initially thought of an IR camera, but @drfootleg (a fellow Guild of Makers member) quickly helped with the simplified solution of possibly using this Adafruit module instead. It should be easier to set the triggers and would not have the same social “push back” effect as asking people to put a internet connected camera in their home.
I have a Raspberry Pi 3+ that I can use to develop this but I would like to move it to a smaller format if possible. The bottleneck in this project will be my coding ability so don’t be surprised if my Twitter account sends out a request for help and guidance soon.