Tag Archives: Brian McEvoy

Make the perfect cup of tea with Arduino

Arduino will keep you from over-steeping your tea.

While coffee has been the fuel of engineers for years, others like Brian McEvoy sometimes prefer tea for their daily jolt in the morning and afternoon pick-me-up. In order to receive the maximum amount of caffeine, however, mastering the brewing time is imperative. Over-steeping tea sometimes can lead to a bitter taste and a reduction in caffeine levels, and as someone that gets easily distracted, this tends to happen to the Maker more times than not. In order to prevent this from occurring on a regular basis, as any DIYer would do, he decided to automate his tea cup to perfect every brew.


While tea timers are nothing out of the ordinary, McEvoy was determined to “(over)engineer something” using inexpensive hobby-grade electronics, and more importantly, something that would differentiate his project from countless others on sites like Instructables. This included incorporating a text display and having the cup (which as any Star Wars fan would agree, his choice was awesome) clip onto the machine.


In order to do this, the Maker devised a 3D-printed, tea-bagging mechanism that employs a 9g servo motor to control the amount of time that the leaves attached to the arm spends dipping into the mug. Meanwhile, another 3D-printed enclosure houses an Arduino Mini (ATmega328), a potentiometer to properly set the brewing process, an LCD screen to reveal the time and a start button to, well, get things going. A USB charging cable with its wired ends cut was soldered to the Arduino for power supply.

Sound like a simple device to solve your troubles in the morning? You can check out his detailed blog posts and follow along with his step-by-step tutorial on Instructables.

Building a modular infrared thermometer 

Brian McEvoy has created a unique Arduino-based modular infrared thermometer.

According to McEvoy, ESPeri.IRBud allows users to “associate an audible tone with a temperature from an infrared, contactless thermometer.”

Key project components include:

  • Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega168)
  • USB FTDI interface adapter
  • Melexis thermometer
  • 4.7K pull-up resistors
  • Cord from a stereo headphone with microphone
  • 3.5mm TRRS plug
  • 3.5mm stereo plug
  • 2.5mm stereo plug
  • 3 or 4 postion DIP switches
  • Logarithmic potentiometer
  • Enclosure

“The [Atmel-based] Arduino is the head and heart of the project. Everything connects to it one way or another. This project was intended to be very modular.  Everything can be unplugged and swapped for a different version,” he explained in a recent blog post.

“So instead of being stuck with a pair of cheap headphones you may plug in your favorite pair. If you decide to build this one on the cheap and upgrade to a better thermometer later you just solder up the brand new thermometer and plug it in.”

In addition, the IRBud can be easily modded for a wide variety of applications simply by attaching different externals.

“[For example], a wrist-mounted temperature sensor with a vibrator would allow a person to feel surface temperatures before touching them,” he added.

“That could be a huge safety boon. A shoulder mounted unit with a pressure asserting solenoid could allow wait-staff to sense when a patron’s coffee is cold or soda is warm. So far, I haven’t thought of a bad way to implement this.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out HackADay’s write up here and Brian’s official project page here.