The kitchen of the future is here thanks to the Internet of Things. Savvy start-ups and tech giants want to empower you with the connectivity and data to be wiser, greener and more efficient. So what are best smartphone-connected kitchen gadgets and appliances out there?
1) Chatty Fridge
Fancy a fridge that can scan your food, tell you when it’s going out of date, show you what’s inside while you’re out and suggest what meals you can make with its contents? LG and Whirlpool both now make fridges that can check in with you via your smartphone.
2) Pro-active washing machine and dryer
Do your laundry chores while you’re out. Smart washer/dryers let you control their spin cycles from your phone (although it doesn’t rifle through your laundry basket and load up for you, shame). Again, LG and Whirlpool along with Samsung all make these clever machines.
3) Attentive Oven
After your smart fridge has told you what to cook, your smart oven can get it baked or roasted in time even when you’re out – if you remember to text it… and put the food in before you leave. Apart from the ubiquitous LG there’s even a smart AGA on the way (provided you have a decent connection out in your country cottage, naturally).
4) Clever slow cooker
If your oven isn’t so smart, then the CrockPot Smart Slow Cooker will fire up your casserole nicely via SMS. You can even adjust the settings via your phone. Oh and keep on eye on all these gadgets and appliances with ‘WeMo’ – this is Belkin (who are very good at making wireless routers etc) getting in to your kitchen big style with their wi-fi tech. They even make little wi-fi cameras so you can keep an eye on your CrockPot while you’re out.
5) Competitive scales
Seems that connected kitchen scales are the big thing right now with four different nifty types coming to market – all from hip startups. All of these scales hook up to your iPad and ensure you measure all your ingredients with bang-on digital accuracy – even helping you to scale up and down accordingly and get your timings right. Beware – your connected oven might get territorial. Have a look at all three options: SITU, Drop and Prep Pad – all either to buy now or pre-order.
6) Sensitive egg tray
Ah, can your smart fridge get specific about your eggs, eh? The prolific people at Quirky have come up with a couple of smart little connected kitchen gems due out soon. Firstly – the Egg Minder which hassles your phone when its eggs are on the turn or running low. Because all it takes is one bad egg…
7) Smelly milk monitor
Quirky are also nurturing ongoing development of the Milkmaid – a big jug you store in your fridge that texts you to say how much milk you have left and whether or not it’s gone off. Handy if you’re just dashing past the corner shop on your way home…
8) X-ray cup
Coming in 2015, the Vessyl cup will analyse whatever type of drink you pour in to it and report back on it’s constituents so you can keep track of your nutritional intake. It comes pre-programmed with the skinny on loads of different branded drinks so it’ll know when you’re downing anything from a Starbucks to a Becks. Yup, fizzy drinks, smoothies, beer – the lot. You can then keep track of your hydration via a smartphone app. Now that really is being smart about what you chuck down your gullet.
9) Preachy Fork
Getting right down to the nitty gritty now. Yes – connected cutlery, of course. The HAPIfork lights up and gets the shakes when you’re eating too fast to digest properly. The idea is that it’ll help you manage your weight by encouraging you to eat slowly. Not sure how it’ll actually stop you shoveling too much grub in to your gob if you’re really determined…
10) Nosey Thermometer
Gender stereotyping abound, iDevices’ manly outdoor iGrill (iGrrrr) and more feminine interior Kitchen Thermometer (iAhhhh) can reassure your phone as to exactly what temperature your food is at via some reassuring-looking probes. No more barbecue food poisoning from hubby or cold-in-the-middle pies from wifey then.
11) Helpful iPad holder
Rounding up with a couple of handy accessories to your connected kitchen now – we give you the magic Chef Stand + Wand. Seeing as a lot of us have gone from plastering our cookbooks in spitting fat and spaghetti bolognese to splashing our iPads in miso sauce and coconut oil, good old Belkin (told you) have come up with a steadfast rubbery base to hold your tablet at the right angle and a natty little wand that means no more awkward oily swipes of the dirty finger.
12) Recipes in your eyes
Become RoboCop in the kitchen (RoboChef?) and beam video recipes straight in to your eyes courtesy of Google Glass. Well, someone’s had to come up a genuinely decent use for them. Our hero Jamie Oliver is one of the first chefs to record his own efforts for us so now we just need our own pair to follow along in style.
13) Let’s just get a takeaway
Has all that far-too-clever tech failed you? Smartypants Fridge can’t connect? iOven gone dumb? Well, provided you’ve still got a signal and your phone battery hasn’t gone dead, you can always just hit up hungryhouse and order from a choice of over 10,000 restaurants. Job done – and your smart kitchen stays immaculate. Just don’t let your iBin tweet any tell-tales about those empty cartons.
by Bob Fear