BeagleBone project spotlight: Dirty Dish Detector

By Tara Stratton

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. My family usually runs
a turkey trot together, makes and eats great food, and spends the
evening playing board games. The one down side of Thanksgiving is
all of those dirty dishes! Sometimes I think it takes more time to
clean up than we even spend eating turkey dinner. The result? The
family falls asleep on the floor (thanks tryptophan!) before all of
the dishes are cleaned up, leaving a mess in the kitchen sink.

Lucky for us all, London Hackspace member
Tom created the Dirty Dish Detector to help keep the hackspace sink
clean. The system alerts users when a dish has been left in the sink
for too long, ensuring you’ll get all of those dishes cleaned up
before napping ensues. The Dirty Dish Detector uses a webcam above
the sink, hooked to a BeagleBone open-source computer, based on TI’s
Sitara AM335x processor. The computer runs the HoughCircles function
in OpenCV to detect circle-shaped items like plates, classes and
bowls. BeagleBone then sends a signal to an Arduino, which deploys
different alerts (based on how long the sink has been full) to
remind people to clean up their dishes.

Tom has a few upgrades planned that may help us catch more criminals
by next year’s Thanksgiving! Right now, cutlery can escape the gaze
of OpenCV since it isn’t circular. Next year’s offenders will be
caught red-handed for cutlery misdeeds. Tom plans to add a
camera to catch mugshots of these dish delinquents as well.

Want to make your own Dirty Dish Detector? Visit
Tom’s GitHub site
to find the code!