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“We love kitchen gadgets and were really happy to hear there is now a category called ‘smart kitchen gadgets.’ How cool is that?!”
“But wait… Are you saying the kitchen gadgets we have in our homes now aren’t smart? What does it mean for a kitchen gadget to be smart, and could you please give us some examples?”
Yes! That’s what this article is about.
Here, we’ll discuss smart technology, especially as it applies to our beloved kitchen gadgets. And we’ll tell you about some of the latest and most impressive ones—to use in your smart kitchen or anywhere else.
A Quick Rundown on Smart Technology
You’ll learn about the marvelous (and not-so-marvelous) new “smart” kitchen gadgets. First, though, we think it’s important to go over just what makes it all work and how it differs (or at least claims to differ) from foregoing technologies.
Smart Technology and the Internet of Things
Smart technology is fundamentally another term for what’s known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to Wired‘s Matt Burgess, the IoT “encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that ‘talk to each other.”
You might say the IoT is a network that carries pure information and then uses it to operate real, physical devices with practical functions.
In a sense, we’ve been “programming” our mechanical devices for a very long time–simply by how we set dials, gauges, and various other controls.
Just think of what happens when we read a cookbook and set the oven at 350 degrees. It works, provided we monitor other controls such as the timer and whatever is being cooked (according to our individual senses of “doneness”).
For the past several years, though, these functions have acquired an ever-greater degree of autonomy from the humans who rely on them. All the sophisticated programming we’ve put into the Internet can now be tapped by various gadgets.
Sensors and processing technology play a significant role in this. They “pretend” to be human sense organs to gather information and returning it to the Internet “brain” for processing and updating.
The Gartner research firm estimates that by 2020, there will be smart devices transmitting tiny amounts of data to us, to the cloud, and to each other.
In other words, a lot more devices will join today’s “smart cars, smoke detectors, door locks, industrial robots, streetlights, heart monitors, trains, wind turbines, tennis racquets, and toasters.”
As the IoT (“smart technology”) develops, entrepreneurship and invention processes become increasingly powerful, due to the combined efforts of the Internet and artificial intelligence (AI).
Having machine-learning algorithms that spot outliers in data has been a huge breakthrough. This process is the primary task of AI within an IoT environment. It can reveal opportunities for greater efficiency or warn of upcoming problems.
Examples of Smart Kitchen Gadgets
Some smart home kitchen gadgets are so impressive that they make us think we’re living either on the Starship Enterprise or in the Jetson Family’s futuristic urban “Skypad” apartment building.
This shouldn’t surprise us, though. The things we’ve imagined for our homes and workplaces fuel today’s inventive processes and define what the “outliers” mentioned above might turn into.
So, in this section, we’ve defined categories of smart kitchen gadgets based on how we perceive their uses as well as their respective capacities to bring real change to how we live our lives.
Gadgets That Make You Think of The Jetsons
It’s not that we think these kitchen devices are simply too futuristic to be part of our lives today. We just imagine how much work they might be able to save us.
Not Rosie the Jetsons Robot, But Darned Impressive
The Suvie Gourmet Kitchen Robot claims to produce “five-star meals with zero effort.” You might say it’s a combination refrigerator, oven, steamer, and home-delivery meal kit–that prepares the meal.
For the cost of $600 plus the meal plan subscription, you have complete meals prepared for you. According to Sous Vide Guy, “you load water into a side reservoir, and the Suvie machine will distribute it as needed, when needed…
The really interesting thing is the Suvie is actually a refrigerator as well–you can load your dinner into the machine in the morning and program it to start cooking so it’s done right when you get home from work.”
Pans That Give Cooking Lessons While You Make Dinner
Describing itself as “the world’s smartest cooktop,” the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System has sensors in both the pan and the burner that communicate with your smartphone using Bluetooth technology.
And just what is communicated? You send instructions for how you would like the food to be prepared, and that is then processed and sent back to the sensors. It then cooks your food, letting you know when to when to flip, baste, sear, etc.
CNET gives this device, with a $650 price tag, a 7.4/10 overall rating, noting that “you only get a pan and a burner. There also isn’t any room in the app to customize recipes or add your own.”
They go on to say, “The Hestan Cue is a good way to elevate your cooking skills. Unfortunately, it costs too much for the average foodie.”
Gadgets that Involve Smart Assistants or Smart Home Set-Ups
These are gadgets that aim to improve kitchen functionality by integrating with existing smart home set-ups. We would speculate here that these would be making a bigger splash if more people were invested in the full-blown smart home concept.
Amazon Alexa, Apple iHome, Google Assistant, Wink Hub 2, Samsung SmartThings Hub, and some others are all used to coordinate smart devices in a home.
The AmazonBasics Alexa Voice-Controlled Microwave has been on the market for a few years now. It is essentially an ordinary microwave oven that is controlled by your voice–via Amazon Alexa. Is this smart technology?
Unlike Amazon’s popular and highly-rated Echo Dot technology, the microwave is pretty unsophisticated. TechCrunch, like other reviewers, has had some fun at the expense of this gadget, commenting that:
“Even if you don’t buy into the premise that microwave controls are a challenge to solve, there’s still the novelty aspect of the voice-activated microwave. If it takes the same or less time, but “feels fun.”
Alexa is also the voice behind the GE Smart Countertop Microwave Oven, which is slightly more sophisticated the one just discussed but still gets lukewarm reviews.
CNET says the barcode-reading scan-to-cook feature “is cooler in theory than in practice.”
Apple’s Eve remote-controlled smart electrical outlets and devices lack some of the “wow” factor of other smart home gadgets. They do, however, add a level of convenience to your existing (i.e., non-smart) kitchen gadgets.
The outlets can be switched on and off remotely using a smartphone. This would, for example, allow an ordinary coffeemaker to be switched on by an early-riser without needing to get out of bed.
Innovative Kitchen Gadgets You Could Use Right Now
In fact, most smart devices nowadays are controlled by smartphones, with connecting apps. These are interesting because building the smart home concept seems less pressing for them than simply enhancing functionality.
With the entrepreneurial function of AI in mind, we can see these devices and the apps that control them possibly filling some of those “opportunities for efficiency” mentioned above. The following are some examples.
A Connected Kitchen Scale that Is Truly Smart
Drop’s connected kitchen scale makes it convenient to use appliances you might already have in your kitchen. By “connect[ing] your smart appliances to your profile, and Drop will adjust recipes instantly, according to which appliances you own.”
The device uses recipes you’ve entered into the app in innovative ways. For example, it creates shopping lists and makes adaptations for substitutions, number of servings, and appliances to be used. Some appliance manufacturers have created interfaces for Drop products.
Sous Vide–All the Rage
Sous vide is a traditional cooking technique that has been popularized by the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker. Sous vide works by circulating heated water in a pot, cooking food to the exact set temperature over a certain period of time.
“In sous-vide cooking, ingredients are sealed and vacuumed in heat-resistant bags, and are cooked at very low and precise temperatures.” The technique produces tender and flavorful meat, among other delicacies.
And to Accompany the Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker…
While not a smart technology per se, The Vacuum Sealer by Nutrichef has many uses—among them, prepping food for sous vide cooking. It also preserves food in the refrigerator or freezer over longer periods than ordinary wrappings/containers.
You’re a Bartender. Who Knew?
The Perfect Drink Smart Scale Pro and 2.0 models both come with Bluetooth connectivity and a drink-mixing app.
The Pro model has a larger shaker, 750ml, compared to the 2.0 model’s 500ml size. the Pro model is stainless steel, has an LCD display, and holds more weight: 0.1 grams/6 kg for Pro vs 0.5 grams/5 kg for 2.0.
This product makes perfectly mixed cocktails, even if you over-pour one of the liquids (it just adjusts the rest of the recipe). And it will create a shopping list for you, based on what’s in your liquor cabinet and what drink(s)you want to make.
And Here’s the Jack of all Countertop Ovens
The June Oven, like other kitchen gadgets we’ve discussed, combines the functions of multiple different appliances. In this case, convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, and warming drawer.
It has WiFi connectivity a touch screen, an internal camera/sensor, and LED lighting. The camera will automatically recognize over 50 food categories and the oven will cook to your specifications. Its reviews are good, not excellent.
We think that at nearly $700, though, this had better be one outstanding oven!
A Smart Item with Established Popularity
The Instant Pot has been on the market for several years now, with the Instant Pot Duo being its most popular model. The Instant Pot Smart WiFi, which was released in November 2018, would be considered a “smarter” kitchen appliance, though.
The Duo does not have WiFi, although it does have what would be considered smart functions and an extensive input pad. For example, it weighs its content—rice, for example—and the “rice” setting automatically cooks the rice flawlessly.
The only reason for using a smartphone or another external control device would be if you needed to start or stop the Instant Pot from a distance. But the cooker pretty much takes care of this with its settings.
One More Significant Part of a Smart Kitchen
Before we start to wrap up this piece, we mustn’t forget smart lighting as something that can make a huge difference in a kitchen. After all, no amount of kitchen “intelligence” save you from an accident caused by dim light.
Also, controlling kitchen lighting from elsewhere in the house is helpful. If, say, you need a late-night snack, you can go to the kitchen and not stumble in the dark finding the light switch.
By the way, bright, cool LED bulbs are recommended for kitchens–and their smart fixtures.
Nearing the End (of the 2010s)
As we approach the end of a decade, we also come to the end of an era when smart attributes are only occasionally part of otherwise “dumb” technologies. Such appliances have introduced us to the idea of “smart.”
Before long, it will be all but impossible to purchase an appliance, device, or system for your home that doesn’t have WiFi, Bluetooth, or some other type of wireless connectivity.
It will be a while yet before all our homes become like that of Bill Gates when it comes to smart home technology. Most of our budgets will make us move more slowly on this. But someday soon, we’ll see smart gadgets in every kitchen.
Until then, we’ll adapt our existing technologies and then, eventually, replace them with the latest smart versions of them–just as today’s smart technology itself begins to be outdated. And so it goes…
For now, though, start thinking about what you’d like to see in your smart home, especially its kitchen. You’ll piece it together before long. Get in touch if you need some inspiration. There’s a lot there!