Few things in this world feel as daunting as a sink full of dirty dishes, especially if they aren't yours. Members of the London Hackerspace face this dreaded scenario often, because they have a community kitchen.
One of the members set out to help remind people to stay on top of the dish situation. He pointed a webcam into the sink. The webcam is attached to a BeagleBone Black that is using the HoughCircles function in OpenCV to detect circular things. What circular things might it be detecting? Dishes. Once the BeagleBone detects plates, cups, or bowls in the sink, it sends a signal to an Arduino, which displays an alert. The longer the dishes remain in the sink, the more urgent the alert gets.
There are some issues with the system. Since it can detect only circles, the dishes have to be perfectly flat and unobstructed. The system completely ignores anything else, so if you were to lay your empty drinking glass on its side, you'd escape undetected. However, there are plans to remedy this in the code and to add a second camera to capture the faces of the perpetrators.
If you wanted to attempt to improve the detection script or replicate the dish detector, you could find the code on this GitHub page.
— Caleb Kraft, Chief Community Editor, EE Times
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