It’s fair to say that many of us once accidentally bricked a device by accidentally applying the wrong firmware. If we’re lucky, running some low-level reflashing tools could save the day and make the item in question healthy again, but we suspect there will be plenty of you out there who’ve had to throw out a PCB or replace an inaccessible one. microcontroller chip as a result.
Then consider the consumer appliance manufacturer Electrolux, whose AEG subsidiary has bricked-in microwave ovens across much of Western Europe (English, Google Translate link). They managed to do this unlikely feat by distributing a wireless update that instead contains the firmware for a steam oven. Worse, the update disabled over-the-air updates, meaning any fix requires physical access to the oven.
We can’t help but sympathize with the poor AEG engineer who has had the ultimate bad days at work, but at the same time, perhaps we should think about the difference between a computer and an appliance, and whether an oven should be needed to call home. Of course, such devices have been computerized for decades, but does a microcontroller performing a control task need to be constantly updated?
We suspect this oven has some sort of cloud aspect that allows AEG to guzzle customer data that the user can control via their app, yet it should serve as a warning to anyone tempted by an internet-connected kitchen appliance. If internet is not needed to cook the food then don’t connect it.
We pity anyone who might have put a pizza in the oven just before it was bricked in, and watched in disappointment as their tasty meal went uncooked.
This post Welcome to the future, where your microwave thinks it’s a steam oven
was original published at “https://hackaday.com/2022/03/18/welcome-to-the-future-where-your-microwave-thinks-its-a-steam-oven/”