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Super Mega Mega Toaster prints images on your bread

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March 20, 2013

The image-embossed bread popping out of the Super Mega Mega Toaster

The image-embossed bread popping out of the Super Mega Mega Toaster

Image Gallery (7 images)

The humble toaster hasn't really changed much over the years. After all, there isn't much you can do with a device which exists purely to brown bread. Scott van Haastrecht begs to differ, and has added another string to the toaster's bow by creating a device that prints a different picture onto your breakfast every morning.

Contrary to the impression the name may give, the Super Mega Mega Toaster isn't a giant version of the humble bread-browning electrical appliance. Instead its trick is to source an image that has some relevance to a particular day from Google, then print on to your toast.

So, as seen in the image below, Valentine's Day may result in a heart appearing on your slightly burnt piece of toast.

A piece of toast with a 6 pixels by 6 pixels images of a heart printed on to it

The Super Mega Mega Toaster is unfortunately only capable of printing a picture comprised of 6 pixels by 6 pixels, which means the simpler the image it's trying to replicate the better. Still, the methodology behind the appliance means that more detailed images may well be possible, if anyone had the time and inclination to explore how to achieve this goal.

This image toaster works by searching Google Images with the current date. It then downloads a random image from the results and toasts it onto the bread in a grid pattern. This is achieved by the toaster being connected to a laptop via USB, with a computer program doing the donkey work.

Once the image has been pared down to just 6 pixels by 6 pixels, an Arduino controller instructs the toaster where to brown the bread. The mechanical process involves a stepper-motor, servos, and six car lighters.

A computer program translates the full image into one made up of just 6 pixels by 6 pixels

The Super Mega Mega Toaster is made from laser-cut wood, all fitted together without the need for glue or screws. Wood wouldn't be our first choice of material to construct a toaster out of, but it certainly results in a striking aesthetic.

Van Haastrecht built the one-off Super Mega Mega Toaster for an "Innovation Lab" university course. The video below (eventually) shows it in action, as well as what's happening under the hood during the toasting process.

Source: Vimeo via Cargo Collective

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.   All articles by Dave Parrack
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7 Comments

The resolution is entirely too low.

Slowburn
20th March, 2013 @ 06:26 pm PDT

The idea looks a lot like the 'Roaster Toaster' invented by a child in last years series of Let's Get Inventin' on New Zealand television. http://www.younginventors.tv/season-three

I also agree that the resolution is terrible. It hardly seems worth blogging about.

Jason Nockels
20th March, 2013 @ 07:14 pm PDT

This kind of device was the "cover story" for Commodore's development of the Video Toaster Amiga board. That had better resolution than this thing, too...

davespicer
21st March, 2013 @ 07:03 am PDT

You would get a better "picture" by inserting a stencil in the toaster. The stencil would prevent that part of the toast from toasting, thus creating a picture, probably 100 times better than this toaster, made out of wood, which is like begging to burn your house down.

Joe Sobotka
21st March, 2013 @ 09:19 am PDT

Why not put a laser on either side, mounted on an x & y axis runs along and could vary the intensity as it browns, lighter or darker to create sepia style realistic images, or even text messages, etc. etc.

Bob Flint
21st March, 2013 @ 09:47 am PDT

I... Why?

Guy DeWardener
21st March, 2013 @ 11:07 am PDT

Darn! And I was hoping to print a Virgin Mary on a slice, and then sell tickets to pilgrims.

Gregg DesElms
26th March, 2013 @ 06:47 pm PDT
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