Tag Archives: Smart Kitchen

Real-life Star Trek replicator whips up dinner in 30 seconds

One startup claims to have developed a food ‘replicator’ that can prepare just about any dish in less than a minute. 

In the hit Star Trek franchise, a replicator was a machine capable of creating (and recycling) objects. Originally used to synthesize meals on-demand, it would go on to assume a number of other applications later in the series. Well, it appears that the sci-fi device may not have been so far-fetched after all. That’s because one Israel-based startup is bringing us closer to an era where a meal can be whipped up in nearly 30 seconds — all with just the press of a button.


Developed by entrepreneurs Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco from White Innovation, the Genie is roughly the size of an everyday coffeemaker and can produce a variety of meals using a Keurig-like pod system. The food is prepared in 140-gram portions in recyclable container.

A hungry user begins by inserting a pod — which looks like a small tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — into the Genie. Then, through its accompanying mobile app, the cooking process is activated. The machine starts mixing, shaking and adding all necessary liquids from tubes attached to the back of the sleek, compact machine which bakes or cooks the desired dish at the appropriate temperature.


What’s impressive is that the Genie isn’t limited to a specific type of food either. In fact, co-creator Carasso tells Reuters that options range from a chicken dinner with rice, couscous or Ramen to even a chocolate soufflé or some other tasty desert. Another bonus? Its inventors say that they are only using all-natural ingredients — no preservatives or anything of that nature — that are freeze-dried and have a shelf-life of about one to two years. Healthy and convenient? Count us in!

The idea was first conceived after the duo was unable to locate a restaurant that would deliver them food late one night at work. Like a number of other Makers, their frustrations resulted in them putting their heads together seeking a solution to the problem. And so, a “real-life version of Star Trek’s replicator” came to mind. While they don’t expect the Genie to replace the dining out experience altogether, they do believe it will challenge chefs to produce a good meal in a pod.


While the mere convenience of such a pod system will undoubtedly fit right within any smart kitchen of tomorrow, there are several other advantageous functions for the Genie, which include providing food to countries in famine or areas impacted by a natural disaster.

Intrigued? You can watch the Genie in action below, or head over to its official page to learn more.

Meld upgrades your existing stove to cook meals to perfection

Sit back and let Meld handle the cooking for you.

With the number of connected homes on the rise, many brands have started to give their modern-day appliances like the fridge, oven and coffeemaker a high-tech makeover. While the concept of smart equipment that suggests what’s for dinner, keeps tabs on key ingredients and even cooks the meal for you is undoubtedly intriguing, the prices of such IoT gadgetry are not as favorable to consumers. This is where Meld is looking to come in. The Seattle-based startup has developed a solution for existing devices that will bring your kitchen right into the Jetsons era — without ever having to shell out thousands of dollars.


The Meld system is comprised of three parts: an automated knob, a wireless temperature sensor and a mobile app. Both the knob and clip feature a Bluetooth LE module and are powered by AAA batteries (four for the knob, one for the clip), while the knob itself is built around a 32-bit ARM MCU. The electronics are all housed inside a chemical-resistant, waterproof plastic casing.

The Meld Knob wirelessly communicates with a precision temperature sensor, also known as the Meld Clip, that affixes to your cookware. Once attached, it gives your stove the ability to intelligently regulate its own temperature and cook foods to perfection autonomously, all through its accompanying iOS and Android app.


How it works is relatively simple: You start by swapping out that old-fashioned analog dial with Meld’s custom-designed replacement. Once it is paired with the clip, the knob will automatically adjust the burner to maintain the ideal cooking environment. The knob knows how to turn the heat either up or down based on readings it receives from the sensor. Simply tell the app what you’re preparing and the automated system will handle the rest.


What’s nice is that you won’t even know it’s there. The Meld Knob was created to leave on the cooktop and to be used just like its predecessors – even when not being used with the Meld Clip or app. Or, say you’re cooking grandma’s famous meatballs or your mother’s casserole, you can take charge manually as well. For those prefer control, the app still allows you to turn the knob. The difference is, that instead of setting it to “medium” or “high,” you can set the dial to a specific temperature or to a specific way of cooking, such as simmering or sous vide.


Sound like something you’d love to have in your kitchen? Hurry over to its official crowdfunding page here. Meld is already cooking up a storm on Kickstarter, where by the time of writing, the team had nearly tripled its pledge goal. Delivery is scheduled for October 2015 — just in time for the holiday stretch!

Countertop is a connected system that’ll make your kitchen smarter

What if a smart blender could suggest the perfect smoothie after a great workout? 

Given the rise in smart home popularity, it was only a matter of time before your kitchen would actually be able to make meal recommendations and then walk you through the preparation process. Particularly for those lacking the Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay culinary gene, this comes as great news.


Developed by Orange Chef, who some may recall from their 2013 breakthrough Prep Pad scale, Countertop is a connected-kitchen gadget not only capable of offering up nutritious food suggestions but assisting cook those items as well. With it, users can even know exactly what they ate and drank during the day.

Aesthetically, the accessory essentially combines a traditional cutting board and kitchen scale with next-gen technologies. The device consists of a Bluetooth LE-embedded base that can weigh and track ingredients, along with an accompanying iOS app that dishes out step-by-step instructions and monitors nutritional intake.


What really sets the Countertop apart is its ability to recognize existing kitchenware, such as Vitamix blenders and Crock-Pot slow cookers. In other words, a user won’t need to replace an entire appliance, but simply retrofit them with dedicated Countertop adaptors. The location-aware gadget is also capable of recognizing how much of something is being added and adjusts the recipe accordingly — all in real-time. Meaning, even the worst cook can’t mess up a meal.

Beyond that, Countertop syncs with fitness trackers like Jawbone’s UP and Apple Health, and uses the data from workouts, activity and sleep patterns to serve up personalized meal and snack recommendations. Once a meal is suggested, a user can either swipe-left to see additional options or swipe-right to select a meal. Countertop learns meal likes and dislikes based on user selections, and as the app learns, it gets smarter and the meal recommendations become more precise. Since it can pair with wrist-adorned wearable devices, this also frees up a home chef’s hands.


And for those wondering, yes, it is dishwasher safe. Countertop is currently available for pre-order in the U.S. with shipment expected to begin later this year.

Are you ready for a smart kitchen?

Here are 5 reasons why the smart kitchen will be a $10 billion opportunity. 

Who remembers the Disney Channel hit Smart House? For those who may not recall, the 1999 flick centered around a family who won a computerized house that ends up taking on a life of its own. While some of the features may have been a bit far-fetched, Disney certainly helped paint a clear picture of the kitchen of tomorrow — one in which can learn its owners’ eating habits through atmospheric sensors and whip up beverages and other snacks instantaneously.

Now 15 years later, a Smart House-like future is coming to fruition. As the ever-evolving Internet of Things continues to experience widespread adoption, one of the areas in the smart home that is expected to see the greatest change over the next decade is, indeed, the kitchen. According to a recent report from NextMarket Insights, the result of this burgeoning technology will make way for a $10.1 billion smart kitchen market by 2020. Running out of milk, eggs or cold cuts? Replenish your stock with just a press of a button. The study, which was conducted back in October, found that out of all connected kitchen appliances, many consumers favor refrigerators that’ll allow them to monitor food inventory with their smartphone.

“Whether it’s food storage, preparation, or the act of cooking itself, the arrival of new technologies will enable consumers to become more efficient, knowledgable and possibly even better cooks in coming years,” explained Michael Wolf, NextMarket Insights Chief Analyst. “As a result, we believe that appliance makers, smart home companies as well as those who provide food to consumers will see both enormous opportunity as well as disruption to their existing businesses with the arrival of the smart kitchen.”


Surveying over 500 households, the study revealed that the next-gen technologies are already beginning to alter the way consumers interact, prepare and consume their food. Nearly one-quarter (24%) who were self-proclaimed cooks already use a tablet or smartphone “all the time” when in the kitchen to help them prep meals, while another 34% indicated they use a tablet or smartphone “sometimes.”

“Appliance and device makers are integrating smart features at both the high and low end of the device spectrum,” Wolf adds.

It wasn’t simply the notion of smart fridges that accelerated consumers’ appetites for the IoT era. Other notable devices in the connected kitchen that most appealed to them included smart coffee makers, oven ranges and crock pots.


Writing for Forbes, Wolf recently highlighted a handful of reasons as to why the smart kitchen will, in fact, be a $10 billion opportunity:

1. The technology is already there: Nearly a quarter of cooks already use a mobile device to help in the kitchen.

2. They will reduce waste: With smart kitchen tech, not only can you see what’s in your fridge while mobile, some are beginning to tell us about is about to expire.

3. Technology can make us better cooks: As everything from ovens to thermometers get connected, users will be able to easily tap into cooking guide apps and datasets.

4. They will make us all healthier: Future devices will enable us to closely monitor and synchronize food consumption with our health and fitness routines, as well as help those with very specific dietary restrictions monitor what’s really in our food.

5. They will make us safer: Compliance organizations are already working closely with manufacturers to enable smart connectivity to allow for remote shut off of appliances like stoves and ranges.


So, how close are we to a Jetsons-like world? If it’s up to companies like Whirlpool, GE, LG and Belkin, soon… very soon. While Whirlpool says some of the concepts may only be five years out from ubiquity, others like LG have already started to make the smart kitchen a reality. Take their latest connected fridge for instance, which uses its companion HomeChat app to communicate with an owner’s mobile device to let them know what items are needed while at the grocery store. Using its built-in camera positioned at the top of the main compartment, users can now easily monitor exactly what’s inside their fridge right from their smartphone. Or, GE, who has not only launched a wireless induction cooktop but is retrofitting older appliances with Wi-Fo modules. Another example, Mr. Coffee. Belkin and Jarden joined forces to debut their latest automatic, web-enabled coffee maker. Based on WeMo technology, the 10-cup Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew can be remotely controlled right from bed via from any Android or iOS device.

Intrigued? Here’s a look at just some of the latest once-ordinary kitchen “things” given new “powers.”

FirstBuild’s sous-vide device will help you become a master chef

Sous smart!

Who remembers the Disney Channel hit Smart House? For those who may not recall, the 1999 flick centered around a family who won a computerized house that ends up taking on a life of its own. While some of the features may have been a bit far-fetched, Disney certainly helped paint a clear picture of the kitchen of tomorrow — one in which can learn its owners’ eating habits through atmospheric sensors, as well as whip up instantaneous meals and beverages.


Now 15 years later, a Smart House-like future is finally coming to fruition. And as we’ve previously noted on Bits & Piecesthe Internet of Things is ready to cook up a storm. Helping us inch one step closer to the connected culinary experience is the Paragon Induction Cooktop, which was developed by GE’s FirstBuild subsidiary and is now officially live on Indiegogo. While smart sous-vide cooking accessories, such as the ATtiny88 powered Nomiku aren’t entirely new, the Paragon is hoping to up the game with its set of innovative devices.

For those unfamiliar with the technique, sous-vide refers to a cooking method used by a number of today’s top chefs at countless restaurants throughout the country, particularly steakhouses. Sous-vide requires those preparing a meal to seal the ingredients in plastic, then submerge them in a temperature-controlled environment, such as a heated water bath.


As its name implies, this smart cooker uses a 1,440-watt induction burner to heat water, while a Bluetooth-enabled attachment monitors the temperature. The clings are also magnetized so that they can easily affix to any piece of induction-ready cookware. What’s more, FirstBulid’s Induction Cooktop is a single burner that measures 12” in diameter and accommodates a wide-range of pots, up to 30 quarts.

Maintaining an even temperature in a pot of water isn’t always an easy task, however. That’s why the rechargeable wireless band syncs with the hotplate and transmits the temperature back to the burner via Bluetooth, adjusting the heat accordingly to ensure that the food is cooked accurately. At the moment, the probe works with just a few GE induction cooktops, though we can expect more are planned for the future.


Although it may not be equipped with built-in Wi-Fi like the latest iteration of the Nomiku, the platform does have a companion mobile app that enables users to browse a library of handy recipes. Good news home chefs, you can now easily upload and share your tasty instructions to a growing foodie community. Additionally, the apps lets its users surveil their meal remotely whether that’s walking about the house or on-the-go. Keep in mind, Paragon does have controls on the cooktop as well, meaning that the app will always be an enhancement, not a requirement to operate.

“However, sous-vide is just one of the many applications of Paragon. The precision that Paragon offers allows you to perfectly cook, simmer, poach, and fry your favorite foods in a way you probably haven’t been able to before,” the company writes. “For example, when you deep fry, you want to be able to keep the oil at the perfect temperature to avoid burning or undercooking your food. When you make candy, you have to be able to control temperature precisely to avoid burning the sugar. When you make steak, you want to be able to control the temperature to within a couple degrees to cook it to your exact specifications. Paragon allows you to do all of those things nearly effortlessly.”


This is certainly an exciting (and mouth-watering) territory at the moment, evident by a growing number of smart innovations seen at CES 2015. Currently, GE offers a line of connected ovens that enables users to start pre-heating from their mobile device, with a few others expected in the coming months. Among the connected appliances include a french door-style bottom-freezer refrigerator, a smart dishwasher, a washer and dryer, to name a few. Meanwhile, FirstBuild recently-revealed its ChillHub refrigerator that boasts two integrated USB hubs, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and an open-source app that provides seamless integration, in addition to its Micro-kitchen and connected thermometer — the same thermometer that will be paired with the Paragon Cooktop.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain. Your kitchen is about to get a whole heck of a lot smarter. Hungry for a Paragon Induction Cooktop of your own? Head over to its official Indiegogo page, where the project has already doubled its initial goal of $50,000 in less than 48 hours. The device that will let you sear, deep fry, poach, simmer, warm and braise with precision is priced at $149, and is expected to begin shipping in December 2015. Learn more on its official page here.

MAID Oven suggests meals based on your cooking habits

Room by room, appliance by appliance, it’s clearer than ever that our homes are becoming increasingly smarter. Ranging from talking fridges to embedded utensils, one area in particular experiencing an emergence of connected devices is the kitchen. In an effort to make cooking simple, social and fun for everyone, Palo Alto-based startup SectorQube has introduced the latest intelligent machine: the MAID Oven.


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.

MAID boasts touch, voice and gesture controls, as well as 6-inch capacitive touchscreen. However, for those times your hands are messy, wet or simply full, just tell MAID what to do next via voice commands or gestures.


With its Internet connectivity, a user can access countless crowdsourced recipes from chefs and cooking enthusiasts from across the world. Not sure what you feel like for dinner? You can search for recipes based on a variety of ingredients, type of dish or just ask MAID to recommend a dish.

MAID can even improve a recipe you cook over and over again, in order for the end product to better suit your taste. As its creators note, every time, temperature and ingredient quantity adjustment you make to suit your taste is recorded and then added as input to the optimization algorithm.


For those on a diet and/or monitoring food intake, the smart device can track your calorie requirements, cooking habits and daily activities all from your phone and smartwatch, thereby playing the role of a personal dietician recommending a healthy balanced diet for you.

“The MAID app is an integral part of the MAID ecosystem. The app shows notifications when the dish is ready. Also, MAID app has activity tracking feature that tracks what the user is doing. It helps MAID to calculate how much calories has the user burnt and then based on that, suggest a healthy diet for the user. MAID app can be used to remotely operate MAID – preheat MAID for cooking, create a recipe from MAID app and cook from MAID oven and more,” a company rep writes.

Think this smart appliance would be the perfect addition to your kitchen? Recently launched on Kickstarter, MAID Oven is currently seeking $50,000. Pending all goes well, the SectorQube team hopes its backers will be able to enjoy some delicious holiday dishes come late 2015.