As the gathering place, the center, and the heart of the home, the kitchen is often positioned as the focal point of our home lives. Now a wave of clever new connected devices are set to transform the way we cook, the way we eat, and the way we interact with our kitchen appliances.
You only need to walk round the kitchenware section of any department store to realize there is no other room in the house where innovation is as prevalent. For years, manufacturers have focused on developing new twists on all products from the saucepan to the garlic press.
So, it’s no surprise that smart devices are starting to appear in contemporary kitchens. And with a variety of new Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless technologies including Cat. M and IoT-NB options, connectivity is spreading like a hot knife through butter and changing the way we prepare and consume food.
1. The Appliance of Science
As smart appliances become more widespread, manufacturers are taking the opportunity to introduce technology that works for more than one. LG’s HomeChat – a messaging app – allows you to remotely control any of the appliances in the Smart Thinq product line, whether you want to start your oven or command your robot vacuum cleaner to clean up under the dining table. It also works with the Nest app, so you can power down appliances when you’re away from home and save energy.
2. A recipe for Innovation
Whether in print or online, recipes generally follow the same format: a list of ingredients and quantities, a set of instructions and a nice picture. But if you haven’t got the right quantities of each ingredient, you’re in trouble … unless you’ve got the Drop Scale and Recipe App, which enables ingredients and recipes to talk to each other via a wireless connection. Simply choose a recipe, place a bowl on the scale and start adding ingredients. The scale can sense by weight when an ingredient is added and will do the math for increasing or reducing quantities as you go along, so the proportions remain correct. The app can even suggest substitutions if you’ve run out of a particular ingredient!
3. Hot Stuff
While Drop will ensure you mix your ingredients correctly, there’s a growing range of smart devices to help you cook them, too. One is Pantelligent, a frying pan with an in-built temperature sensor. Tell it what you’re cooking and the app will notify you when you should turn it over, or when the heat is too high or low. There’s even an optional attachment that lets the app take complete control of the temperature, leaving you free to focus on the rest of the meal while your steak cooks just the way you like it.
4. Measuring Cup
Another growth area is devices that monitor your nutritional intake. For instance, the Vessyl, a smart cup that will analyze any liquid, from coffee to a smoothie, and tell you its constituents. Link it to your smartphone or tablet and you can keep a record of everything you drink! It means you can see how well hydrated you are from day to day, how many calories you’ve consumed, how much sugar, caffeine and so on – the idea being that you can then adjust your regime to improve your health.
5. Slow Food
For those who want a more assertive technological approach to healthy eating, there’s the HAPIfork, which was originally developed for medical use. Gobbling food down too quickly is a primary cause of poor digestion and weight gain, so when you eat with the HAPIfork, it uses vibrations and indicator lights to tell you if you’re eating too fast. Data from the fork is uploaded to an app that allows you to track how quickly you’ve been eating your meals and how many times per minute you’ve brought the fork from your plate to your mouth. The package includes a coaching program with suggestions on how to change your eating behavior.
So while connected devices have long been limited in consumers minds to smartphones, laptops and tablets, the IoT will continue to bring added and smart value to the home, the garage, and even the kitchen.