BBiQ™: A Brain for Your Barbecue
BBiQ™: A Brain for Your Barbecue
Grill anything instantly, expertly, effortlessly. The BBiQ™ bluetooth sensor & app turns your iOS or Android device into a grillmaster.
Grill anything instantly, expertly, effortlessly. The BBiQ™ bluetooth sensor & app turns your iOS or Android device into a grillmaster. Read more
About this project
NOTE: Advanced models do not come with infrared sensors. Please see the FAQ below. We're sorry for any confusion!
BBiQ™ is a melding of hardware and software–app and device–that will free you from the bondage associated with being a grillmaster.
It will keep an eye on your food and manage the grill, notifying you when something needs tending. You pick a recipe, put the food on the grill and the BBiQ™ let’s you know when to turn it, when to add seasoning, and when it’s ready to eat–so you can finally hang out with your friends and enjoy your own barbecues.
If you’re cooking different types of food it can tell you which to put on the grill first, how long to wait before putting the next thing on, and even suggest where to place each item on the grill surface.
Other devices are just fancy thermometers that show you the temperature (locally or remotely). That requires you to have previous experience with the food you’re cooking or memorize temperature charts. The BBiQ™ knows what to do every step of the way, and walks you through it. It completely eliminates the “hovering” and “checking” normally associated with grilling. All you need to do is wait for the next alert notification and the app will tell you what to do next.
The BBiQ™ hardware is already fully functional, but we want to make it smaller. This can be accomplished by moving to smaller hand-soldered components, but our ultimate goal is to fund a production run for a custom PCB.
The Android app works great, but needs lots more recipes. We also have tons more features we’d like to add, plus we want to port it over to iPhone and iPad. We are also planning a web portal with social features, so people can share recipes and post pictures of their greatest meals.
The hardware design is finished and we have built a number of working prototypes. Right now our priorities are making it smaller (preferably pocket-sized) and of course taking any and all additional unnecessary steps necessary to make it look as cool as possible.
Of course the app can’t do all the work. The hardware needs to be smart too, and it is. Our firmware knows the target temperatures for each probe and will alarm using the LED and buzzer if the targets are reached or if anything wonky happens (like if the temperature starts dropping because your grill ran out of gas).
BBiQ™ Android App
The Android app is currently functional, but we want to add a lot more features. Right now it can receive temperature readings from the device, generate alert notifications, load recipes, and send new target temps for each sensor. The next step is to add in tons more recipes, code in the ability to record new recipes directly from the hardware, build in social features like recipe sharing, and establish connectivity with the web app and web portal.
The app is designed to function with or without the BBiQ™ device, but users will need to have a temperature probe of some kind for proper use. If no BBiQ™ device is detected then the app tells the user what the target temperatures are and provides step-by-step functionality similar to use with the device, but with more user interaction necessary.
BBiQ™ iOS App, Web App, and Web Portal
We don’t want our little gadget to just be some wireless thermometer. We have big plans for it. The first step will be to build an iOS version of the Android app, with all of the same functionality. Next, we’re going to build a web-based application with most of the same functionality, followed by our web portal.
If our device + apps take barbecue to the next level (they do) then our portal will take things to the next-next level (yes, we went there). On top of the stuff you’d expect (e.g. recipes) we’re also going to include some really fun social features, meal planning, shopping lists, and a bunch more. These features will initially be web-based but our plan is to include all functionality within the apps.
Inside the BBiQ
We’ve run through a number of prototypes before settling on our current design for the BBiQ™. The unit is now powered by an ATmega328 and is designed to accept 2 thermistor probes. Advanced BBiQ™ models will include an additional probe (3 total) and run on a rechargeable battery. Our advanced model prototype is currently equipped with a very cool IR temperature sensor that we’re hoping can be made available as an accessory.
An RGB LED and buzzer provide users with direct feedback from the BBiQ™ hardware while a bluetooth radio sends temperature data to our app and receives commands in return. The device lights up and sounds an audible alert when user action is necessary, and the app will generate a notification on the user’s phone or tablet.
The app displays the current temperature of the active sensors, as well as what food each one is monitoring and a list of next-steps with approximate timing. The timing is calculated based on the current sensor readings and the temperatures specified by each recipe.
New recipes can be entered into the app manually, downloaded from the web portal, or recorded by allowing the sensor to watch the user grill. When recording a recipe, the user places the sensors as usual but manually tells the device any necessary steps (when the food is turned, removed from aluminum foil, taken off the grill, etc).
We love pocket-sized gadgets so our road map includes plans to shrink the current design by at least 30-50%.
¹ The BBiQ™ app will work even without the BBiQ™ bluetooth sensor, as long as you have some type of food thermometer you can use. It's much less automated and not nearly as much fun, but you can still click on any recipe and grill like a pro.
² Base models will ship with 1 or 2 temperature probes as specified in the rewards section, but they will all have 2 ports so a second probe can be added.
³ Advanced models will all have 3 ports and ship with 3 standard temperature probes. The IR probe seen on our Advanced prototype is expected to be available as a separate accessory.
The appearance and design of the BBiQ™ may change between now and final production. We want to make it 30-50% smaller and design a custom enclosure for it. By Kickstarting this project you get a voice in the process and final product design.
The BBiQ™ is subject to the same governing principles and laws of physics as other food thermometers. Poorly placed probes, damaged wires, and a world of unlikely-but-possible things can cause incorrect temperature readings or other malfunction. Users should always check that their food is adequately cooked using traditional methods (normally eyesight) before eating it.
International shipping to some destinations can be infeasible. We will try our best to ship all international orders, but reserve the right to cancel and refund any international pledges that exceed the shipping fee. This is a project of Red 3 Enterprises Inc. The device featured in this project is Patent Pending.
Please support us!
You can discuss the BBiQ at crowdfundingforum.com
Risks and challenges
The challenge we currently face is getting our hardware into production and finishing the development of the BBiQ™ Apps.
We've received estimates for production of a custom PCB that will replace the current internal components of the BBiQ™, as well as detailed fabrication and assembly quotes from two highly experienced manufacturers. We have several different options for production depending on the level of interest in each of the three variations (Base, Advanced, Advanced/LCD).
The LCD on the Advanced/LCD model may change. The functionality will remain the same, but we may use a different/custom LCD depending on cost and enclosure. Other changes in the design may occur, but only if we believe it is an improvement or if it is necessary for the device to function properly.
Production in-full is estimated to take 8-12 weeks from the end of the project. We will be shipping the units as soon as they become available.
The BBiQ™ Android App is approximately 50% complete already and we have very talented iOS and PHP developers lined up to help us get all three software projects to 100% within about 4-6 weeks from the end of the project. Alpha versions of the app will be available to all backers as soon as we think they're worth playing with. Beta versions will follow, followed by the full version 1.0 which backers will receive at least 30 days before it will be available in App/Play stores.
Development of the BBiQ™ web portal is our lowest priority and will take place after all other software development is complete. The web portal will launch around the time the BBiQ™ hardware ships, but initially will not have many of the features we plan to add. Social features and other functionality will roll out steadily over a 4-6 month period following the end of the project.
T-Shirts, Aprons, BBQ Tool Sets, and other assorted rewards will be shipped approximately 4 weeks from the end of the project.
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No! You can use the BBiQ™ any way you might use similar food thermometers.
Inside the BBiQ™ app, recipes will be tagged with methods (Grill, Smoker, Oven, Stovetop). We will be including a large database of recipes and there will also be user-added recipes.
The standard model supports up to 2 temperature probes and runs on standard alkaline 9-volt battery. Standard models have a loud buzzer and a bright LED that can change colors to alert you when something needs your attention.
Advanced models support up to 3 temperature probes and run on a rechargeable lithium battery. Some advanced models also have a backlit LCD so you can read the current probe temperatures right on the device without looking at the app.
Each probe can be used to monitor a different food. For smokers or more precise grilling any one of the probes can be assigned to measure ambient temperature.
Our advanced model prototype has an IR sensor, which works great under controlled conditions but has some drawbacks. In particular, it would need to hang from the hood of the grill and be aimed properly at the grill surface (preferably part of the surface not currently covered by food).
For these reasons, we decided to delay offering it as a reward. As noted above, all advanced model BBiQ's come with three STANDARD probes (long metal pointy things). The probes can be used to monitor food, or can be used to monitor surface temperature (same as the IR would, but with a few seconds lag time and without the "cool" factor.
Sorry for any confusion. If you decided on an advanced model because of the IR and would like to change it, you can change your reward level at any time before the project ends by clicking the link near the top of the page.
The BBiQ™ uses bluetooth to communicate with an Android or iOS device, so operating range is usually between 30 and 50 feet. If the app is logged into the BBiQ website you can also monitor your food and hear alarms from any web browser. As long as your phone or tablet is in range, you don't have to be.
Don't worry! The BBiQ™ hardware has some smarts too. Whenever any changes are made on the app, an update is sent to the hardware. Even if the app loses connection later on, the hardware will still beep and flash when any of the probes reach their target temperature.
Absolutely! In the app there are two primary activities: Selecting the food you want to cook and assigning how each connected probe is used. Probes can either be assigned to food items or as "Ambient".
If you have assigned a probe to measure ambient temperature the app will use the data to improve timing estimates. A nice side benefit is the app can also warn you if your grill runs out of gas.
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