Smart fridges and seamless cooktops are just a few of the tech trends transforming the contemporary kitchen.

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Q: I’m looking to update my dated ’90s kitchen in a big way. What are the most innovative and convenient tech trends in kitchen design right now?

A: For a generation that grew up with Transformers and video games, it’s no wonder we quickly fall in love with technology and want it everywhere, from the phones in our hands to the appliances in our kitchens. While a kid of the 1980s may have imagined how cool it would be for the kitchen to turn into a gleaming robot sentry, the reality is much more practical and, in many ways, even cooler.

Smart fridge. We have been hearing about “smart fridges” for a while now. But science fiction has become science fact with French appliance manufacturer Liebherr, which has partnered with Microsoft for its latest leap forward. What if your fridge knew and could identify all the products it contained? What if your fridge could tell you what it was storing on request, or what the best storage temperatures and conditions might be for each food item? Liebherr’s fridge can do that. In fact, if you are missing ingredients, this refrigerator will even help you order them through your preferred shopping app or by voice command.

Integrated induction burner. By now, you’re probably already familiar with magnetic induction cooktops. Drawing on the power of electromagnetism, magnetic waves heat pans without heating surfaces, leaving cooktop surfaces cool to the touch and preventing cooking-related injuries and potentially deadly fires. While that function alone is astonishing, it’s just one facet. What if you didn’t even have to see a cooktop surface? What if you could set a pan on your countertop, and use a control off to the side or your phone to turn it on and set the temperature? Completely hidden cooking surfaces are already here, and cooktop surfaces are no longer the mandatory visual elements of kitchen design that they once were. By combining surfaces like Neolith (sintered stone) with undermount magnetic induction heating technology, you can be at the forefront of the kitchen cooktop revolution.

European independent gas burners. Since we’re already talking about cooktops, what if you were no longer confined to having your gas burners in a nice neat pattern too tightly spaced for your pans? Now you can decide which size burners to have based on your needs rather than what a product designer thinks you might need. With European independent gas burner technology, you can set up the burners with any size or configuration you wish. If you have a long island and wish to have two burners on one end and four on the other, it’s not a problem. Placement of the burners is at your complete discretion.

Refrigerated compost bin. Composting is an important part of our sustainable future, but it’s not necessarily the part we love most. Many people who don’t keep their compost in closed ambient temperature bins keep them in the fridge, but neither option is optimal. What if you could be environmentally responsible (and legally compliant in some jurisdictions) by composting your food waste while reducing or even eliminating some of our least favorite parts of the process” Your wish is granted. Compost refrigeration helps limit and eliminate unwanted odors, insects, vermin and other goopy unpleasantness without storing waste products alongside fresh ones in our refrigerators. It makes composting waste as simple and unobtrusive as using a recycling bin.

 

Dave Giltner is with Bauformat Seattle, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 2,900 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.