What stands at 12-feet-tall, emits 300 gallons of smoke and provides a full weekend of BBQ deliciousness?
SXSW means many different things to many different people, but one thing it means to nearly everyone is barbecue. From briskets to ribs, Austin has it all.
For three days, SXSW attendees had the chance to see, smell, and most importantly, taste barbecued food courtesy of General Electric’s Brilliant Super Smoker. The focal point of the GE BBQ Research Center was a 12-foot-tall, custom-built interactive barbecue smoker, pit-mastered by GE’s resident scientist Lynn DeRose. The exhibit was able to capture data from the smoker and other scientific experiments during the event to track every step of the BBQ experience, while analyzing the science behind cooking and eating.
No stranger to the burgeoning Maker Movement, GE constructed its Brilliant Super Smoker from scratch using both steel and unconventional tubular laboratory glassware. The machine was equipped with a myriad of sensors and Atmel based Arduino boards (according to Mashable), tasked with continuously monitoring each of the internal functions of the smoker, such as temperature, humidity and smoke flow, as well as the ingredients inside. The intelligent system was designed to provide the BBQ pit-master with an instantaneous look at the status of the meat without ever having to open the cooker. This allows for a consistent temperature during the 18 hours, seven hours, and one hour required to cook brisket, ribs, and sausage, respectively.
The data was then visualized in real-time and displayed on a nearby screen Predix-inspired GE software — a platform for predictive maintenance created for the Industrial Internet.
GE’s goal of redefining the BBQ scene doesn’t end with smoking either. In fact, the company’s researchers also detailed the process of creating effective sauce by partnering with local ice cream parlor Spun to scientifically whip up a BBQ-flavored frozen treat. Beyond that, tent visitors even had the chance to see how their brain reacted to consuming various foods like smoked sausage.
Evident by its fair share of SXSW projects throughout the years which range from a pop-up 3D printing workshop to a social media-enabled fridge, not to mention its recently-revealed FirstBuild co-creation space, GE undoubtedly finds itself smack dab in the middle of the ever-growing DIY community and the Internet of Things.