Smart Kitchen:

from quintessential to innovative

Gabby Nguyen | 3min read

You own at least one smartphone. Your living room has a smart TV or a smart speaker. And you are 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? In recent years, Artificial Intelligence has made its way into the kitchen to tackle tasks from serving up recipes to reordering groceries, and new technologies are being developed at a rapid pace. Staying up to date on the latest developments in kitchen AI will enable you to experience the shift firsthand.

The booming of AI-enabled kitchen appliances:

Thanks to kitchen appliances with AI and smart functions, the kitchen of the future is already here, offering a bunch of new ways to make your life easier. From refrigerators to ovens, upgraded kitchen appliances will help you with your daily tasks and allow you to spend more time doing the things you love. As a result, more and more leading vendors such as Samsung, LG, Kitchen Aid are investing in AI enabled smart appliances such as smart refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers to attract the maximum number of consumers in the global market.

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, which means you can ask Alexa to preheat the oven for your dinner literally.

Another outstanding example of AI-enabled kitchen appliance is the smart refrigerator of LG. Alexa is in LG’s InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator. This fridge is unbelievably clever as it can even suggest recipes based on available ingredients. 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. Moreover, the LCD panels of this smart refrigerator let you take a peek inside without having to open the door.

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. Let's check out some of these smart kitchen appliances and gadgets that will innovate your daily cooking routines.

Grocery Ordering

 

With the Amazon Dash Wand, you can create your shopping list in a minute with an integrated barcode scanner. Launched in 2017, this Alexa-enabled device lets you scan or restock your kitchen and pantry. It is equipped with Wi-Fi and a barcode-scanner. To use it, you simply point it at an item's barcode, and if the wand recognizes the item, it will make a noise, flash off the light, and add the item to your Amazon cart. It boasts integration with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, letting you complete tasks such as reordering previous purchases by voice command in addition to pulling up recipes from Allrecipes.

To use this smart kitchen device, you will need an iPhone or an Android smartphone to register it, and it is magnetic so it can stick to the fridge. The device requires two AAA batteries to operate, and it sports one large button that you'll press to accomplish pretty much any task it's capable of, whether you are initiating a task with a voice command or not. The other main feature is the barcode scanner, which you can use to scan items in your home that you wish to reorder through Amazon.

GeniCan is also smart device that is able to help your ordering process  easier and faster. However, this device takes a different approach in building your shopping list. Being a part of your smart home, the GeniCan attaches to most garbage cans and recycling bins so that it can automatically update your grocery list. Besides, you can also add items in your list through barcode-scanner or voice recordings. When you run out of a product, you can scan the item before throwing it away to quickly add it to a grocery list. Items without a bar code can also be effortlessly added by holding the item in front of GeniCan for a couple of seconds and using voice recognition technology to instruct the device.

GeniCan leverages sensors to detect and scan items, which are then added to the app through a connection to the home’s Wi-Fi. To avoid accidentally adding products, GeniCan is calibrated to only add items that have been intentionally scanned or added via voice recognition. If an item is simply tossed into the garbage can, it will not be added to the list.

Planning and Preparing Meals

Imagine dishes from top Michelin-starred restaurants, cooked by a master chef in your own kitchen, whenever you want. Moley Robotics has created the world’s first fully-automated, intelligent cooking robot. It learns recipes, prepares and cooks; and even clears up after itself. The gadget is a pair of articulated arms descending from the ceiling of the cook station. It also includes a stove top, oven, and a sink. The Moley Kitchen Robot is a device that cooks the user's food of choice. It performs the whole process of cooking from preparation to the plating of the food. The only human input needed is the selection of the recipe. The movements programmed into Moley were actually recorded from the BBC MasterChef Tim Anderson. Although Molly is not yet out on the market, the kitchen robot is said to break into the scene in 2019 and is rumored to be priced at around $75,000. It has been under the works since its prototype was revealed in 2016.

Not bulky like Moley Kitchen Robot, Drop is a smart kitchen scale that can connect to your iPad. Drop Scale is a Bluetooth-enabled kitchen scale that guides you step-by-step making delicious dishes with the help of a connected iPad app. 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.

For example, you want to make cookies, but the amount of flour in your pantry doesn't match the recipe. With Drop, you can weigh the flour you have and the app will recalculate the other ingredients to offer a custom recipe. Drop also offers clever workarounds. If you are missing an ingredient, Drop will suggest suitable substitutes so you can continue baking and avoid a last-minute trip to the store. The app also assists long after you have weighed that flour and sugar. It will tell you to preheat your oven and even act as a cooking timer. And when your cookies are done baking, you can take photos and share them on your social media platform of choice - all from the Drop app.

Mindful Eating

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.

This smart fork aims to control the user’s eating patterns and can subsequently help control their weight. While it might look like a regular fork with a wider handle and even weighs as little as 65 grams, the HAPIfork packs an interesting, detachable piece of technology in its handle. This electronic component is linked to the fork tines, and when the user puts the fork in the mouth, an electric circuit is closed, and the device registers this as having taken a bite from a meal. In this way, the HAPIfork can monitor how fast the user is eating and vibrate if the pace is too fast (less than 10 seconds between bites). Moreover, the data can be analyzed via an accompanying computer or a smartphone (iOS and Android) app.

Meanwhile, SmartPlate TopView is an intelligent plate that analyzes everything you eat. In general, the app will read the calorie content of the food on the plate. This is the world's first Intelligent Nutrition Platform that uses advanced photo recognition and AI technology to identify, analyze, and track everything you eat in mere seconds. SmartPlate TopView is comprised of a portable plate and countertop dock that pairs with the SmartPlate Android or iOS app. The app uses the camera on your smartphone to identify your meal and allows you to add it to your journal. It then gives you personalized guidance to move you closer to your health goals.

Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are deeply woven in our lives, and the kitchen is no exception. 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. Ultimately, connected cooking is all about giving us more time to enjoy the food and bond with the people we are cooking for.

Reference: Bold Business, HuffPost, PR News Wire, VentureBeat, Life Wire, Indie Go Go, Kickstarter, Medical Futurist, Cnet, Qeprize, The Science Times.

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