Microwave ovens have been the peak of convenient cooking since the 1960s. You can microwave some pizza rolls, some vegetables, but Allen Pan decided to make gaming a more integral part of the cooking process for his most recent project.

This is a microwave oven that will only cook food while an attached game console is in use. That console is a generic all-in-one handheld with many built-in games. If a Hot Pocket requires three minutes of microwave cooking, then Pan has to play one of those games for a full three minutes or risk biting into an icy centre.

Pan used an Arduino Uno board to monitor a microphone placed in front of the console’s speaker. The console only outputs audio while a game is in play, so this was a good way to determine if the user is actively playing or if they have walked away.

If the Arduino detects sound, then it will turn on a relay in the microwave oven. All Pan needs to do is pop some food in the microwave and start playing a game. So long as his thumbs don’t get tired, he can heat up whatever treat he craves.

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