Tag Archives: Hack The Home

A look back at FirstBuild’s Hack the Home

Home is where the hack is!

Are you ready for the smart home of the future? Well, FirstBuild certainly is. The collaborative partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors just held their first mega-hackathon, aptly dubbed “Hack the Home,” which called upon Makers, engineers, designers and techies to dream up tomorrow’s sci-fi-like household appliances.


Sponsored by several of today’s leading tech companies (including Atmel), participants had the opportunity to utilize the FirstBuild microfactory’s assortment of tools, ranging from 3D printers and laser cutters to soldering stations and drill presses, as they devised their IoT projects for a chance at a slew of cash prizes. Throw in a few Red Bulls, a couple slices of pizza, easy-to-use hardware (like the ATmega328P) and a little ingenuity, and you sure do get some smart ideas!

“We are excited to open our state-of-the-art microfactory to Makers to ideate and take advantage of our advanced manufacturing facility,” explained Natarajan Venkatakrishnan, Director of FirstBuild. “The ingenuity generated by these teams was outstanding and illustrates how ideas can come from anywhere. We opened our facility to the Maker community and in a day they created innovations that can impact appliances of tomorrow.”

So without further ado, here’s a look at several innovative submissions from the 36-hour event. Three entrants emerged as winners based on their potential commercial use. You can vote for your favorites here!

The House Roast (First Place)


This grand prize-winning project brings the high-level precision of roasting coffee to the masses using a conventional GE oven and Arduino-driven heating control over the web or an app interface.

Fix of Water (Second Place)


This runner-up hack enables you to control your kitchen light and GE fridge’s water dispenser through voice commands from your mobile device.

CrockWatch (Third Place)


This smart crockpot allows you to remotely monitor your food via camera, check the temperature, and control its power settings.



This sensor pad measures fill levels of common items in your fridge, such as milk, beer and soda, and notifies you through its accompanying app.

Aut-o-matic Fridge Friend


This fridge hack makes it easier to stow away groceries or the enormous crystal punch bowl that you just can never seem to find a place for. With the touch of a button, a motor silently opens the fridge door to grant you access. Another touch and the door securely closes



This retrofitted cabinet brings a smart greenhouse right inside your house.



This shelf modification solution for refrigerator, pantries and toolboxes gives you the ability to intelligently track items, reorder consumables and analyze inventory usage.



This 3D-printed component snaps onto a standard box of baking soda and plugs into a ChillHub. A low-power fan then forces air past the baking soda, removing any unpleasant fridge smells as it is pushed out the other side.

Stove Whistler


This notification system will offer you a reminder if and when your stove has been left unattended.

That’s My Beer


These lockable refrigerator drawers, which can be opened using an app or NFC technology, let you keep your roommates (or yourself) away from the beer stash. For families, a parent can control the snack drawer and open at their discretion.

Shelf Control


This retrofitted shelf slips into your existing refrigerator and will unlock based on whether you have met your fitness needs for the day. The lock will interface with a FitBit-like device to determine whether that health goal has been achieved.

Perfect Pasta


This automation system makes it so that you simply place a pot full of tap water onto the stove, suspend the pasta colander over the pot, enter the desired preparation time, and allow it to cook itself. A phone notification will then let you know when it’s dinner time.

And of course, there was plenty of fun to be had and memories to be made along the way.





Finally, what would the home of the future be without a tricked-out DeLorean in its garage? Kudos to our friends at Hackster.io!