Cooking up the connected kitchen

By , ITworld |  IT Management

Good idea. The execution ... not so much. I sure could use a wireless blender for when it'd be more convenient to bring the blender jar to the basket of strawberries instead of the other way around. But this model, at least as the Haier PR person demonstrated it to me, must sit directly on top of the transmitter. You can't skooch it over a few inches, which I do all the time. The benefit here is no wires (which would be a boon if you have the kitchen island of my dreams), but it's not exactly unconnected. Which is okay, because that's why you show people prototypes: to get feedback and improve the product before you try to sell one.

On the other hand, I can imagine this technology working for something that rarely moves around, such as a toaster. (Apparently this model is available in Japan now; they were showing concept-only for the U.S. at CES.)

Whirlpool showcased a few "visions" of what could be done in the kitchen, such as break apart the big white box called a refrigerator – which keeps all the food at pretty much the same temperature – into several standalone boxes that can be installed throughout the kitchen. Herb storage can include proper lighting as well as the proper temperature and a clear case (really, it was quite pretty); vegetables can be in closed-in boxes that are configured as drawers. If I use a lot of herbs but never buy meat, I can pick-and-choose a "refrigerator" that suits my needs. As Whirlpool explained, a central cooling system could provide the right temperature and humidity level to connected bread and fruit baskets, wine chillers, herbariums, and specialized cooling boxes to easily keep meat and dairy fresh and concealed.

When I began to go CES window shopping for kitchen connectivity, I expected to come home with a slide show of Stuff You Can Buy Today. Instead, I found vendors who are – for a change! – really considering what customers both need and want to buy. Personally, I'm far happier with that thoughtfulness in my shopping basket.

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