Restaurant-Picking Device Prevents Hangry Couple Spats

To avoid hangry couple spats, Redditor beanieweenies551 used a Raspberry Pi Pico to build this simple restaurant-picking device.

We all know the feeling: you’re starving, but they don’t like any of your restaurant suggestions. Soon you’re both hangry and arguing, and then you eventually settle on whatever take-out you always resort to in these situations. Life would be so much easier if someone — or something — else could select a restaurant for indecisive couples. To bring that utopian concept to fruition, Redditor beanieweenies551 used a Raspberry Pi Pico to build this simple restaurant-picking device.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a microcontroller development board that became very popular thanks to their performance, size, and low cost. Another benefit of the Pico is that it can run MicroPython, which makes programming very easy. Users can copy Python files directly to the Pico’s flash storage and the device will automatically start running that firmware every time it powers on in the future. In this case, that Python script is very simple. On boot, it randomly selects an entry from a precompiled list of restaurants that beanieweenies551 and their girlfriend both enjoy.

In addition to the Pico, this device contains a 16x2 character backlit LCD screen, a momentary button, three AAA batteries, and a small plastic enclosure. Holding down the button connects the AAA batteries to the VIN pin on the Pico, powering it and causing the Python script to run. The Python script selects a restaurant and displays the name on the LCD. The script runs very quickly, which means there is almost no delay between pressing the button and getting a result. If the couple doesn’t like the first restaurant suggestion, they can release the button and then press it again to get a new result.

This device contains a lot of processing power for something as simple as selecting an item from a list, but that overkill is well worth avoiding hangry couple spats.

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