You own at least one smart phone. Your living room has a smart TV or a smart speaker. And you’re probably thinking of investing on smart lighting and thermostat as well. With the kitchen as the busiest part of any home, why not make it a smart kitchen, too?
From Quintessential to Innovative
From wood-fired hearths to charming oven ranges, stoves and ovens are now Wi-Fi-enabled and connected to the internet. South Korean tech giant Samsung provides a line-up of smart oven and cooking appliances. Through this technology, one can monitor, preheat, and adjust the temperature via computer or any Android and iOS device. General Electric amped up their stove game through artificial intelligence. GE’s PHB920SJSS smart oven is powered by an intelligent software called Geneva. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, can coordinate with Geneva. So literally, you can ask Alexa to pre-heat the oven for your dinner.
The fridge is also getting digital support. Alexa is in LG’s InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator. This fridge is unbelievably clever, it could even suggests recipes based on the ingredients on hand. And when you find the dish that you like, Alexa reads the steps as you cook. This smart refrigerator can monitor expiration dates so no need to guess if you should be tossing food cartons and leftovers to the trash bin. Need to go grocery shopping? You can check the contents of your smart refrigerator via live view from your smartphone. Lastly, the LCD panels of this smart refrigerator let you see the contents without having to open the door. Talk about energy-saving.
Samsung Kitchen appliances decided to develop their own voice-based AI and integrated it in their product lines. Samsung’s Family Hub smart refrigerator has Bixby and can pretty much provide the same features as the LG’s InstaView ThinQ refrigerator. But Family Hub’s competitive edge is in its online delivery that can be done directly from the smart refrigerator’s LCD display panel. Taking it a few steps further, Family Hub can create individual voice-based profile. This function displays specific calendar information based on your voice profile.
A Dash of AI and a Spoonful of Internet of Things (IoT)
Most of these smart kitchen appliances are still going through testing and product development. So it may still take a while before AI and the IOT can take over our kitchens. However, there are a number of household items already available in the market. These daily kitchen devices are installed with internet or Wi-Fi connectivity and “smart” applications. Here’s a list of some of these smart kitchen appliances and gadgets.
- The Amazon Dash Wand is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that creates your grocery list and orders online via Amazon Fresh. A barcode scanner helps create a shopping list. You can also say the product names out loud.
- The Hiku Shopping Button looks like a fridge magnet. But it can be a valuable tool in the kitchen. You create your shopping list by scanning barcodes or recording your voice. The shopping list can be accessed via any iOS or Android device.
- GeniCan takes a different approach in building your shopping list. This device scans boxes as you throw them away. You can also add items in your list through voice recordings. GeniCan is also connected to a mobile device app.
- The Neo Smart Jar works by monitoring the weight of its contents. When the items are running low, Neo prompts the app and adds it your shopping list. This smart jar also keeps track of the best-used date and records your consumption.
- Egg Minder is a collaboration between GE and Quirky. It is an up-front device that lets you know if you are running out of eggs.
Planning and Preparing Meals
- Drop is a smart kitchen scale that connects to your iPad. But this device goes beyond weighing your ingredients. It also serves as a kitchen assistant offering instructions on how to cook a variety of dishes.
- A part smart speaker and part cooking assistant, Hello Egg brings out the chef in you. It projects cooking videos and helps build grocery list.
Cooking in a Smart Kitchen
- Range is a digital thermometer that connects to your iOS device. It gets a calibrated temperature reading and matches this with USDA and gourmet recommended presets. You also get notification through your device so you’ll know when to flip that steak.
- Crock-Pot Smart-Pot is a digital slow cooker that serves meal for four. Set the timer on HIGH for 4-6 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours to conveniently cook according to your schedule. Smart-Pot automatically switches to WARM to keep the food at an ideal serving temperature.
- Unleash the chef in you through Mellow Smart Sous Vide Machine. The device can cool your food and preserve its freshness until you are ready to cook your meal. Say you want a salmon for dinner. Prep your fish in the morning and set the time when you want to start cooking your meal through an app on your mobile device.
- iKettle is a Wi-Fi connected 1.8L electric kettle that can be controlled using your Android or iOS device. You can also remotely boil water by asking Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant. The kettle has three modes: Wake-up mode, Home mode, and Formula mode.
- HAPIfork is the smart fork you need if you are trying to keep tabs on your food intake. The utensil has sensors that will determine if you are eating too fast and wolfing down food too fast. The fork vibrates and lights up signaling you to slow down. This is because proper pacing helps in weight loss and avoiding digestive problems.
- Smart Plate is an intelligent plate that analyzes everything you eat. The app will read the calorie content of the food on the plate.
Safety in the Kitchen
- Kepler is a portable device that lets you monitor your home for dangerous gas. It sends alarm to your mobile device once it detects higher levels of gas.
- Birdi is a life-saving sensor that combines smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and quality-of-air monitor.
Connectedness in the Kitchen
Artificial intelligence and the IOT are deeply woven in our lives, and the kitchen is no exception.
Privacy and security fears aside, IoT and AI in the kitchen offers so much exciting innovations. It may still be too far fetched for our meals to cook by itself, but the technology that is available now is helping enhance the kitchen experience. With the aid of smart devices, creating a shopping list can be turned into an interactive family activity. Planning meals can be a breeze with the smart kitchen appliances suggesting recipes based on the ingredients you currently have. You need not camp in the kitchen since you get timely updates from your device about how much time is left for cooking.
Ultimately, connected cooking is all about giving us more time enjoy the food and bond with the people we are cooking for.