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