The internet of things, which has been moving forward for many years to make our homes smart, is moving into our kitchens.
Is your kitchen keeping up with technology innovations that can make your life easier and you healthier?
Smart home technology uses electronic devices of all kinds that can communicate with each other. Their operation can be controlled and accessed remotely, from any place and time.
Depending on their platform, they are compatible with smartphones and the internet.
These devices are innovative so must be added by consumers when you determine what problem requires a solution to make your life easier, save you time and money, and in the case of the kitchen, help you be healthier.
A Smart Kitchen
There are a multitude of solutions currently available and in the start-up phase to help consumers get things done in innovative ways. Here are just some of the technology that can make your kitchen smart.
A smart refrigerator can keep a food inventory of what is on hand in the fridge. It will alert you when something is gone and add an item to your grocery shopping list when the supply begins to wane. You can also set it to automatically order foods from the supermarket or online delivery service when it is time to restock.
Smart refrigerators can also manage expiration dates, alerting you when a particular food is approaching its expiration date in order to help you reduce food waste and not waste money.
A very helpful feature for some smart refrigerators is using a recipe option that takes the food you have on hand to create a meal. Nothing goes to waste and you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner.
Smart Devices / Voice Assistants
Smart devices controlled by using your voice to activate virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home will be expanding in the future as more smart devices and appliances interplay with these virtual assistants.
There is a smart device that will tell you what ingredients in your recipe are needed, in what quantity, and when you have combined it appropriately. It measures each ingredient by volume, so you can cook the prefect food. You don’t have to measure ingredients anymore or even do math because a smart scale will calculate the recipe based on the ingredients you have on hand. Not enough sugar? No worries, the scale will measure the right amount of all ingredients and scale it back for the perfect cookies.
Recipes at your fingertips displayed right from the screen on the refrigerator. Built in digital screens not only show what’s inside the unit, what recipes to cook tonight, when the milk expires, or when you have no more eggs, but also keeps your shopping list and keeps the family calendar so everyone knows which day of the week soccer or ballet practice falls on. It can also leave a post it note such as “be home at 5 PM, please put dinner in the oven for me.”
As you cook, It can even play music to keep you entertained.
Smartphone apps for label reading, calorie control and other nutritional info link your kitchen to your health. An app can read the VR code or UPC code and knows what is inside. It then uploads this information into your smartphone app to help you track important nutritional concerns such as sodium intake or amount of carbs in the product before you buy it or eat it.
Need more help with cooking? A smart oven can help teach you techniques by offering you cooking suggestions based on the meal in the oven using a camera. Bread not rising, cookies too brown or chicken too dry – not anymore! It will also cook at three times faster speed making a quick dinner easier than ever.
Never burn another meal using a smart fry pan with induction heat source that communicates with each other via Bluetooth. The heat adjusts based on the food cooking using temperature probes. It also includes step-by-step recipes and instructional videos that guide you through the cooking. View videos on your fridge screen – wow!
Smart coffee maker linked to your alarm clock has your coffee hot and ready for you when you get up. This is a reality and convenience for us to get going in the morning and out the door!
Smart cutting boards can send actual, real-time portion data to your meal tracking smartphone app. This solution is designed to reduce the inaccuracy associated with many meal tracking apps when incorrect portion sizes are recorded. The prep surface monitors the amount of food being used to get a more accurate picture of your nutritional intake.
3D Food Printing
3D food printing is coming to your kitchen. Making toys or even clothes using 3D printing is becoming even more commonplace. Did you know that you can also make food with a 3D printer? It isn’t cheap and most of the printers are large compared to an ink printer, but the future is now and the ease of use is only getting better.
In fact, many applications are being used now including monogrammed chocolate and personalized foods especially for special events like weddings. Imagine printing your betrothed’s name in party favors or your business logo on gifts for the holidays.
A smart plate can also track the amount and type of food you are eating and send that information to your smartphone app for tracking. Photo recognition technology is used to identify and measure the food on the plate. The database uploads nutritional information.
If you need help to reduce overeating, there is a smart utensil that will automatically vibrate when you are eating too fast so that you will slow down and listen to your satiety cues to hopefully stop overeating.
Preventing foodborne illness is another feature of smart devices such as the cutting board. Alerting you to cleanliness and cross contamination using the smart cutting board or monitoring safe internal temperature with a smart thermometer which sends alerts to your smartphone will help you avoid food poisoning. This feature is also available in a crock pot, barbeque grill, or oven.
Smart, But Maybe Not for Everyone
Like most new technology, getting the latest gadget to use in your home is something people think will be helpful. Many are truly ingenious and fun.
Who hasn’t asked Alexa, Siri, or Google to play a song or turn on a light without thinking that is the neatest thing?
However, most smart devices are pricey but getting more affordable with time just as flat screen TVs did.
As a matter of fact, the new hub style smart refrigerator was substantially more expensive, costing about $5,000, when it first hit the market. The latest model has been made more cost-friendly (and lower quality according to some tech experts), coming in around $2,500.
3D food printers are also very pricey but are getting smaller and less expensive as the market grows and more manufacturers take the plunge.
Another concern for many people about smart home devices in general and for the kitchen specifically is will it really fill a gap in your life. Can you live without it? Do you need help cooking enough to get a smart scale?
Most coffee drinkers like, perhaps even love, the solution of having their coffee ready when they get up and will pay a little more for the smart pot that will get the coffee brewing without waiting.
For some people, the security threat of getting hacked through smart home devices still holds them back. Most devices are safe and can be set to protect your privacy, though none of our technology is perfect (at least not yet).
The reality is that we are becoming consumers who demand more ways to use our smartphones and get things done in a short amount of time. A little help to get a tasty and nutritious meal on the table every night may be worth a little expense for smart home devices especially in the kitchen.
Do you have a smart kitchen device you couldn’t do without? We’d love to hear all about it!