Physical Concept: Detect failure to shut off stove top using infrared sensors.

Physical Concept: Detect failure to shut off stove top using infrared sensors.

After allowing water to boil away a few times, I’ve given some thought to how one might detect when a burner has been left on. Methinks it’s not really that hard: Point a thermo-sensor straight down at each burner element and sound an alarm if the temperature exceeds, say, 300°C (572°F) for a few moments. More reliable detection could be achieved with a real thermographic sensor and some basic monitoring algorithms.

Name: Dammit, I scorched another pan. (It’s a working title…)
Website: None
Concept Type: Physical device, safety.
In one sentence: Detect when a burner is left on and sound an alarm.
Is it open source: Not software, or much of it.

Description

After allowing tea water to boil away a few times, I’ve given some thought to how one might detect when a burner has been left on. Methinks it’s not really that hard: Point a thermo-sensor straight down at each burner element and sound an alarm if the temperature exceeds, say, 300°C (572°F) for a few moments. More reliable detection could be achieved with a real thermographic sensor and some basic monitoring algorithms.

300°C was chosen because the smoke point of the highest temperature cooking oil – refined avocado oil – is about 270°C. A little research might point to using a lower or higher temperature for the simple alarms. More advanced alarms would/could use motion detection to determine if and when to trigger an alarm state.

A real thermographic sensor would (probably) be able to detect the transition of a simmering pot of soup (say) into a pan of soon-to-be-dehydrated-soup, by noting the relatively small increase in temperature and the significant decrease in steam – a point sensor could see a temperature change, but not the steam quantity. Either would be able to detect that “something has been boiling for an hour and now its temperature is going up really fast”, but only a system with a thermographic sensor would be able to detect if a person was present and perhaps caused the change that led to the temperature increase (the wine reduction step is done, throw in the steaks!)

MVP

Set of four sensors that connect to central unit. Unit provides power to sensor, contains alarm and circuitry. Each sensor is aimed at center of burner. When temperature is detected to be over 300°C (572°F) for 30 seconds the alarm sounds. Reset is performed by pressing a button. Resetting the device suspends detection for (20 minutes? 10? 30? Until a cool down cycle is detected?)

Potential Enhancements

Use a real thermographic sensor. Use image recognition to detect elevated temperatures ( > 300°C/ 570°F). Avoid false alarms by widening the detection area to include the area ‘in front’ of the stove, in order to detect motion (e.g. someone reaching in to stir a pan).I’ve noticed that it’s quite possible to stand within a few feet of a cast iron pan on low and not even realize it’s crazy hot, so simply walking by should not prevent an alarm from sounding. It may not be possible to find a reasonably priced sensor that can detect reliably at such a wide range of temperatures.

  • Could add WiFi in order to send notifications (SMS, whatever)
  • With WiFi, remote access to system (e.g. “Did I remember to turn off the stove?”). Recall, alarm state won’t be triggered until water has boiled away.
  • Ability to actually shut off stove. Seems expensive, regardless, and possibly crazy expensive for gas stoves.

Monetization Potential

  • One time sale

Status

  • Hypothetical