The 4 C's | Corey's home page | Corey's Talking Toaster | Toaster Project Proposal

Talking Toaster

Corin Anderson & Chris Setter

CSE 477, Spring 1996


Our project is to design and build a toaster for the Computer Scientist. It's main features will include a voice response system, heat and other sensors for monitoring toast making, and self-actuating bread platform. [more...]


The goal of the project is to build a toaster which is friendly, reliable, and safe. Our approach is to use sensors mounted in and around the toaster to gather data; send the data to the microcontroller, and take action based on what the microcontroller determines.

The interface to the toaster will be in two parts. The first part is user input. There will be two methods of user input - a keypad or set of buttons on the toaster, and a sound activated control. An example of the latter might be: clap twice to make toast.

The other part of the toaster interface is its response to user requests. For friendliness, we will have a voice chip which can play back prerecorded messages through a speaker.

For reliability, we will have sensors which monitor toaster heat transmission, toasting time, etc., to ensure consistent toasting for every slice.

As a kitchen appliance, safely is of great importance. To maintain a safe environment, the toaster will have sensors to monitor smoke, and the AC source will be well insulated.


Our approach is really cool. Chris will have more to say about this.


The heating coils in the toaster require 120 VAC at about 10 amps. As such, our design is constrained to ensure that this current is safely conducted through the toaster. Our design must include proper insulation for the line current, and isolate it from exposed surfaces.

Another constraint we face is to protect our microcontroller and circuitry from the intense heat of the toasters coils. One obvious method to satisfy this constraint is to build an external box for the microcontroller. This method is not ideal, because kitchen counter space is usually at a premium. We will investigate other possibilities, and use this method as a fallback position.


We'll need some voice chips, LEDs, a 6811 microcontroller, and a toaster. Chris can expound upon this.


There are three main tasks in the design and implementation of our toaster. The first two tasks are design issues, and the third task is the implementation.

Task 1: Identify all the sensors and effectors for the toaster.
Task 2: Plan the structure of the microcontroller's program.
Task 3: Build the toaster.
Tasks 1 and 2, as design tasks, can be started immediately and be completed by the anticipated project start date. Task 3 will occupy most of the project time, and is broken down into four milestones:

Milestone 1: Implement voice playback circuitry. Be able to play back voice samples using the microcontroller, and record samples with an external circuit.
Milestone 2: Design and build a mechanism for raising and lowering the toaster's bread platform. Design and implement a switching mechanism for the heating coils.
Milestone 3: Implement the control panel, bread detector, and heat sensors.
Milestone 4: Implement the proximity sensor, smoke detector, and sound trigger.

Corin Anderson |
Last modified: September 8, 1996