In the future, we'll still run out of milk, drip globs of egg on the countertop and have trouble remembering recipes. Instead of resorting to...
NEW YORK — In the future, we’ll still run out of milk, drip globs of egg on the countertop and have trouble remembering recipes. Instead of resorting to low-tech solutions such as sponges, shopping lists and hand-worn cookbooks, some predict the kitchen itself will respond to our every need.
At this year’s Wired NextFest — a sort of high-tech world’s fair featuring hundreds of interactive exhibits that wrapped up earlier this month at the Javits Center in New York — GE unveiled the Kitchen of the Future, a shiny, humming unit that’s still only conceptual, although GE designers say in two or three decades it will be the norm.
The device is self-aware enough to know when it’s running low on essential ingredients, and it can suggest recipes using items it does have.
Ask it how to make something — it responds to voice commands — and a recipe pops up on the display. Oh, yeah, in the future, kitchen walls will have huge, interactive computer screens.
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Today’s microwaves and conventional ovens won’t be fast enough to accommodate our busy future lives, so the kitchen comes equipped with a Speedcook Oven, which can cook food up to eight times faster than a conventional oven, says GE representative Allison Eckelkamp. It also performs thermoscans to determine which areas of a dish are at an ideal temperature.
The overall effect is a mechanized sous chef, anticipating and responding to the cook’s needs. Watching it in action, one almost expects Rosie, the Jetsons’ tireless robotic maid, to pop out from behind its gliding doors. Of course, she wouldn’t be necessary — this kitchen cleans up after itself.
Even with its fancy gadgets and slick appearance, the Kitchen of the Future will never know the sweet pleasure of tasting the creations it whips up — but a group of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is designing gizmos that do just that.
Scientists from the Counter Intelligence project created a spoon that registers the temperature, salinity, acidity and viscosity of food. Called a Smart Spoon, it can tell if that soup you’re about to put in your mouth is too hot or the pickle brine not salty enough.
The group also invented a pair of wine glasses called Lover’s Cups that allow couples separated by distance to enjoy a drink together. The Wi-Fi-activated goblets glow when they’re used simultaneously, so couples can share the experience of each sip. Even in our techno-saturated future, there still will be room for a little human interaction.