The kitchen has often been called “the heart of the home” — but why can’t it be the brains, too?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling our internet-of-things (IoT) technology to achieve new heights. Our devices are becoming smarter, thanks to sophisticated machine learning algorithms, in combination with interfaces that make the interactions between man and machine smoother and more accessible.
But while some technologies merely take an aspect of our lives and make it more convenient, less expensive, or more effortless, others have the power to reshape our lives in fundamental ways. The Internet of Things is making possible a new wave of smart kitchen gadgets, from sensors that know when the stove has been left on to forks that remind us to slow down and savor each bite.
So here’s how AI-powered IoT devices is reshaping one of the most important rooms of the home — our kitchens.
1. GROCERY ORDERING
Barcodes aren’t just for cashiers anymore. There are devices which let consumers use them in the home as a quick way to manage shared grocery lists. In addition to scanning barcodes, gadgets like Amazon Dash and Hiku can also accept voice commands and even place grocery delivery orders to save you a trip to the store.
The Amazon Dash wand collects items for your list and orders them through Amazon Fresh, a local delivery service which also includes hundreds of thousands of non-grocery Amazon items. Fresh is still being rolled out to select cities, so Dash isn’t yet widely available.
Hiku is much more than a chunky fridge magnet. As you scan or tell it which groceries you need, it can integrate with a number of third-party shopping lists. Planned updates will add online price comparisons and online ordering, though specific grocery delivery partners haven’t been announced yet.
2. MONITORS AND ALARMS
Even for the best home chefs, things sometimes go wrong. Devices like Kepler and Birdi helps to keep an eye on things and can pass alerts about a problem at home to users anywhere in the networked world.
Birdi monitors smoke, carbon monoxide, pollen, particulates, temperature and humidity. If any of these rise to worrisome levels, Birdi will alert you and anyone else you authorize with a text message or an automated call. Multiple Birdi devices can also repeat alarms from other rooms or even other houses if neighbors connect their Birdi.
Kepler is a natural gas and carbon monoxide monitor that can easily live in any room of the house, or even in the basement near a gas-fired boiler. But it’s especially useful in the kitchen, where it can check for gas buildup from a leaky or forgotten stove.
3. FLATWARE AND UTENSILS
Parents may impose a “no screens” rule at the dinner table, but that doesn’t mean your meal can’t involve some smart technology. Vessyl and Hapifork are a few devices that use data and immediate feedback to help us be more mindful of what we’re eating and drinking.
One of the best and simplest ways to lose weight is to eat a little bit slower. Using a capacitive sensor and a built-in vibration motor, HAPIfork (“happy fork”) will send out gentle physical notifications or flash small indicator lights when it detects that you’re shoveling food in faster than you can digest.
Beverage calories are some of the hardest to eliminate, especially when we’ve become dependent on caffeine and sugar boosts. Vessyl does the thinking for you, with internal sensors that analyze the ingredients to determine what, how much and how often you’re drinking.
Devices in the Grocery Ordering section above let you know what you’re out of; devices like Neo and Eggminder keep track of what you have.
Even the humble kitchen jar has got an upgrade now. Neo holds dry goods and measures how much is left with a built-in digital scale. Once you tell it what’s inside, Neo can suggest recipes, calculate the nutrient content of each serving, and even automatically refill itself by placing orders from online delivery services.
Eggminder is a smart egg tray that lets you know how many eggs you have left in the fridge while you’re out at the grocery store. Each egg slot has a sensor that keeps track of every egg’s individual shelf life based on when it was added to the carton, and LED lights indicate which of the remaining eggs are freshest.
5. VOICE-ACTIVATED DIGITAL ASSISTANTS
While not exclusive to the kitchen, voice-activated smart home hubs are pretty handy when your own hands are covered in flour or stuffed into oven mitts. Whether dictating recipes from your favorite food bloggers or quickly converting teaspoons to pints, these talking gadgets are ideal sous chefs.
Ubi is an Android-based “ubiquitous computer” that, the designers claim, will eventually be able to do just about anything that involves the Internet. Ubi includes a number of environmental sensors and integrates with other smart home gadget ecosystems like Nest and SmartThings.
Echo may live in your home, but its brains are in the cloud with the power of Amazon Web Services. In addition to looking up information and controlling other smart home devices, Echo has instant access to streaming music and other content from Amazon’s own selections and third-party services like Pandora, iTunes and Spotify.
6. COOKING DEVICES
When it comes to actually cooking food, the IoT market is less robust than you might expect. We’re still waiting for the killer-app version of the notorious “smart toaster”, for instance. But a handful of devices like Range- digtal thermometer, EveryCook- automated pressure cooker and Mellow do put connectivity to use in the kitchen.
Range is a precision food thermometer designed to play nice with today’s technology. It’s wired — embedded electronics wouldn’t survive in the oven or on the grill — and plugs into a phone or tablet to provide temperature graphs and instant readouts.
EveryCook is designed for those who don’t feel as comfortable in the kitchen. Actually, it’s close to a chef-in-the-box, being:
- part food processor
- part pressure cooker
- part robot.
First, select a recipe from an online database through the mobile app. Then feed the required ingredients through the slicer and into the cooking pot. A mechanical stirring paddle keeps things moving, and the heat settings and cooking time are handled automatically according to the recipe you chose. There’s even a scale so you don’t have to measure — just add an ingredient until EveryCook tells you to stop.
Mellow is a remote cooking device designed specifically for sous-vide, in which food is placed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and cooked slowly in steam or a water bath at low temperatures. It will hold food in its the tank at refrigerator temperature until it’s ready to cook, and you can use the mobile app to adjust settings and timers so your meal will be ready the moment you get home.
If enough cooking, storage, and other functions can be remotely operated, kitchens can afford to take a backseat to other, more prominent rooms of the house. This is one of the major advantage of using IoT in kitchen. The different applications of IoT in Kitchen ranks the highest when compared with other domains. Perhaps it may be due to the high living style and advancement of the applied technology in every walk of life. Ultimately, the smooth functioning of the devices and the knowledge for their operation are essential to achieve the expected results. Otherwise the traditional cookware can only save us.