According to recent report, nearly seven in 10 consumers (67%) will own an in-home Internet of Things (IoT) device within five years, while 13% of consumers are expected to have at least one IoT device in their house by next year. Although we’ve already seen everything from smart thermostats to security systems, it comes with little surprise that the next area around the house poised to be connected is the kitchen. In fact, a new report from NextMarket Insights has revealed that the industry will be worth $10.1 billion by 2020.
Aside from being the epicenter of most homes — between the cooking, the eating and unfortunately, the cleaning — a vast majority of time and effort is spent in the kitchen. From the utensils you eat with to the cups you drink from, every interaction around the dinner table will soon be connected. As we prepare for CES 2015, let’s take explore some of the latest once-ordinary kitchen items given new “powers.”
Recently launched on Kickstarter, a team of MIT engineers has developed a smart frying pan. Aptly named Pantelligent, the device features a temperature sensor (in its base) that communicates over Bluetooth (in its handle) with its companion smartphone app, guiding you through the process of cooking just about anything. Think of it as a digital Cooking for Dummies, telling you what, when and how to do it. Without all the reading, of course!
Baidu has unveiled a pair of ‘smart chopsticks’ fitted with sensors that can be connected to a smartphone app to offer users analyzed readings. The company says the prototype device is currently designed to detect temperature and whether food was produced using ‘gutter oil’ – reused cooking oil that’s potentially toxic. Future models could also flag contaminated water, and even measure salt levels.
Developed by Quirky, Egg Minder is a wirelessly-connected egg tray that keeps track of how many eggs it is holding and how long each individual egg has been in it. When opened, the smart device blinks an LED light next to the egg that’s been in it the longest, so you know which to crack next.
Powered by an Atmel ATmega32L, the MAID (Make All Incredible Dishes) Oven is an all-in-one device that can learn your eating habits, like daily caloric intake, and then suggest new recipes for you based on its pre-programmed optimization algorithms — which are driven by an ARM processor. The appliance functions as a microwave, convection oven and top-heater, meaning that it can whip up anything from a bag of popcorn or Eggo waffles to a birthday cake for a family celebration.
The smart fork, which was introduced at this year’s CES, uses electronic sensors to monitor a user’s eating habits. Designed by HAPILABS, the ARM Cortex-M0 embedded utensil tracks the number of bites, intake speed as well as notifies you to step away from the dinner plate.
In an attempt to make sous vide cooking more accessible to the home chef, the team behind the Nomiku Immersion Circulator recently unveiled a new prototype that features Wi-Fi connectivity. Embedded with an ATtiny88 MCU, the Nomiku can receive inputs from the accompanying Tender smartphone application. Tender, available on the iOS and Android platforms, grants users the ability to share recipes throughout the sous vide cooking community. With a few clicks and the correct ingredients, a home chef could have a Top Chef winner’s recipe brewing on their stove in just a matter of minutes.
Italian design company Thingk recently completed a successful Indiegogo campaign for its new GK Series of ATmega328P powered products, the GKILO and the CLOGK. The GKILO is a wooden slab that functions as both a kitchen scale when laid on one side, and a clock when flipped over. The block, which does not have any buttons or switches, is merely controlled via hand gestures. Meanwhile, the CLOGK serves as an ordinary analog clock or as a cooking timer, based on your preference, and features a unique touch interface. It can also stand as a paperweight or a contemporary decorative piece.
Using motion data and algorithms, The Hug sensor tracks the amount of water you drink, giving user’s automatic reminders via the sensor band and mobile app to ensure optimal hydration.
Designed by the Magnified Self crew, B4RM4N is a smart cocktail shaker powered by an Atmel MCU and connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to mix and pour the perfect drink every time. To start, a user connects B4RM4N to their mobile device by placing the shaker onto a nearby table or bar, immediately launching the accompanying mobile app. Then, simply select a recipe from the vast library loaded onto the app, as well as the desired number of drinks. Cheers!
Liftware, a new type of technology created by Lift Labs, can help improve the lives of people suffering from Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease. Sensors embedded in the smart utensil detect motion, and a microcontroller uses sensor data to determine the best response. The microcontroller continuously directs motors in the handle of the device to move the spoon and cancel tremor movements.
Developed over the course of a month for the Quirky and GE Project, Milkmaid addresses the issue of wasted milk due to spoilage. Never accidentally experience sour milk the hard way again! The smart milk jug will alert users when their milk is going bad and most importantly, when to discard and go buy some more. Now, the only thing missing is an Oreo-dunking machine.
Prep Pad is a microcontroller-powered smart food scale that providers users with real-time insight into their food. Use it to create balanced meals through beautiful visualizations of protein, carbs and fats with its Countertop app. According to its Kickstarter campaign last year, the company turned to an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32u4) for prototyping before finally sourcing a “smaller microcomputer (open source, probably Arduino family) for the final product.”
LG Smart Thinq
It was only a matter of time before the arrival of self-aware fridges, ones that are capable of knowing and alerting you when they’re low on milk. Or, cognizant of consuming energy while you’re away on business. LG’s latest smart refrigerator uses its HomeChat app to communicate with your mobile device.
SITU is a smart food nutrition scale capable of weighing food in calories and nutrients, as well as grams and ounces. What this means is that users can have a precise calorie and nutrient count of what they’re about to consume.
Those who recently cooked a turkey over the holidays know just how daunting of a task it can be. Luckily, iDevices offers a Bluetooth-enabled cooking thermometer that allows remote monitoring and alerts those whipping up dinner when food is ready, right from their mobile device. The smart gadget comes in two models: a larger version with two probes that can wirelessly monitor two temps at once, and a smaller one-probe version. The iDevices app not only receives real-time temperature data, but also includes recipes, presets, kitchen timers, and a social media component, which lets users share data with other tech-savvy chefs.
What’s in your cup? First introduced via Kickstarter and eventually raised $3 million in pledges, the smart cup can not only identify and track what a user is drinking, but can sense the type of liquid and even the amount of calories, sugar, caffeine, protein, sodium and vitamins that are in whatever liquid the Vessyl contains.
The Drop smart kitchen scale was designed to allow anyone to bake beautiful and delicious creations — regardless of experience. The scale connects to a custom iPad app via Bluetooth and walks aspiring bakers through a library of recipes.
Mr. Coffee 10-Cup Smart Optimal Brew
No stranger to home automation, Belkin has introduced a number of WeMo products that are looking to take home automation to the next level. From smart crock-pots to web cams, the latest addition to the family is the WiFi-enabled coffee maker, which is capable of brewing up to 10 cups ‘o joe all while being controlled by your smartphone. The Mr. Coffee machine makes it super simple to schedule, monitor, and modify your brew from anywhere.
So, what happens when you want to brew just one hot cup’ o joe and not an entire pot? That’s where Smarter’s latest Wi-Fi coffee machine comes in handy. The device allows owners to remotely brew individual cups through its companion Android or iOS app, complete with scheduling, as well as to grind beans and send notifications when their daily dose of caffeine is ready.
Sifting through this list really makes us eager to see what’s in store for the year ahead as we kick things off at CES 2015, where a number of today’s largest brands will release their next-gen IoT products.
Remember Whirlpool’s touchscreen stove demo last year? The exhibit featured an interactive touchscreen cooktop that was able to display recipes, Twitter and Facebook updates, news and weather. The cooktop itself, which would use induction to heat pots and pans, could display recipes right next to your ingredients, pans, bowls, and cutting boards, instead of keeping a mobile device nearby while cooking. In addition to that, it was voice-controlled, meaning a user simply had to talk in order to change the music, access different social feeds and more.
It’s ideas like these that will usher in the kitchen of tomorrow. From smart appliances to quantified cooking, the Internet of Things is set to revolutionize everything from how we cook to what we consume. The advent of such web-enabled tools and accessories will surely make for much smarter, efficient and easier culinary experiences.