The Secret To I of E In The Kitchen? Invisibility

The Secret To I of E In The Kitchen? Invisibility

The Secret to I of E in the Kitchen? Invisibility

What could be simpler than opening the fridge and grabbing yourself a snack? That’s the challenge for designers and engineers who are looking to bring the Internet of Everything into the kitchen. Eating food is based largely on sensations of hunger, an age-old instinct which is pretty difficult to ignore. As for preparing food, people either enjoy it or they hate it. Either way, when preparing to integrate a kitchen into the Internet of Everything sphere it is important to realize that the kitchen is an area where emotions rule, not facts.

internet-of-everything

People go to the kitchen when they are hungry. They meet in the kitchen during parties. Many take pride in cooking from recipes handed down through the generations. A kitchen is a hearth; it is a place for being human, and as such the often highly practical, yet overly logical inventions that have been designed for the kitchen over the decades face steep opposition from the simple fact that if it needs to be thought about, that’s one step too many.

The fundamental guideline for an efficient kitchen scenario is ease of use. A refrigerator is easy to use: it keeps things cold. A stove is easy to use: it makes things hot. A tap delivers drinkable water. All of these things are invisible. They just happen. And it is only when the power goes out, or when you go camping, that the marvel of these old-school, non-intelligent devices once again proves their worth.

As such, as the Internet of Everything creeps further and further into our homes, its success will be based on a single word: invisibility. For a device to work well, meaning that the interaction between the device and its human counterpart works well, it must offer as invisible a process as possible.

Some examples of this are already starting to emerge with the development of smart smoke alarms, such as that offered by Nest. Once it has passed its current teething pains it will offer a far more intelligent approach to home awareness and safety. Similarly, devices such as Canary stand to usher in a new generation of home security, using the power of a personal Wi-Fi and a smartphone app to keep tabs on the status of your house while you are not in it.

So what could be improved in a kitchen, in such an invisible way as to make life easier without adding extra steps?

Cooking will always involve manual effort, but hands-free cookbooks, which can scroll or zoom with a wave of the hand are already in use on iPads and Google Glass. Innovative new kitchen scales such as the Orange Chef Prep Pad offer a significantly more powerful way to understand nutrition and to eat better, by assessing servings by weight.

But what about the fridge? How could that be improved? Cynics will say the best way to assess what your fridge contains is by opening the door and looking inside, which makes sense if you remember to do this. But how many of us have had to add extra minutes to the commute to stop and pick up some milk on the way home? It happens. A fridge that could scan bar codes, and assess the remaining amount of milk by weight, using the same weighing techniques that self-checkouts use, might be able to send an alert more promptly, or better yet, add “milk” to your online grocery list. Yes, this would require that the milk be placed in a specific location in the fridge. So why not incorporate shelves that not only factor in a weighing scale but also light up, ensuring that even the youngest family members are guided to place the milk in the most energy efficient location of the fridge, which happens to be the lower level.

Scanning items before placing them in the fridge or even onto lighted panels in your cupboards might seem to add extra effort to your life, but less so if there are tangible financial savings to be made, through fewer trips to the grocery store, less spoiled food, and fewer redundant purchases.

Food preparation is generally haphazard and reactive. The success factor of the Internet of Everything in the kitchen will be to turn our relationship with food into a proactive experience, whose benefits extend into health, as well as budget.

Many of these items do not exist just yet, or have not been perfected, either in terms of useability or price. But the beauty of the Internet of Everything is that the apps, the programming and sheer innovation now have a common platform upon which to work, essentially a Wi-Fi network and a smartphone.

How often has a pot boiled over on the stove in your house? Why? Because the speed at which liquids reach a boil depends on a great number of influences, including the setting of the element itself, the size of the pot, the contents of the pot and even the altitude of your house. Smart crock pots already exist, so why not a pot that can sound an alarm 2 minutes before a boil-over? It exists. What about a range that could sense the presence of small children and warn them away?

ikea-smart-connection-internet

(Image Source: IKEA)

Invisibility is the key. A kitchen must be a place where no extra work stands between a human and their food. Otherwise instinct takes over, and the device becomes a failure.

But invisibility has a second role to play here, in terms of the reduction of items needed to make a kitchen successful. Smart, energy efficient fridges need not be as large as their predecessors, yet they could incorporate a number of other appliances, including security camera screens, hands-free cookbook/recipe files, an entertainment system and a phone. These have been tried before, but as any Newton owner knows, timing is everything (a Newton, kids, was a smartphone that was neither smart, nor a phone, but it was an essential link in the evolution of texting).

Other multipurpose intelligent devices such as the Gkilo a combination kitchen scale and clock, show great promise in returning to the kitchen that one thing that is always in short supply: counter space. Consequently a kitchen that embraces the Internet of Everything will require fewer physical tools and less space to get the job of cooking done.

Food preparation has been a fact of life since the dawn of mankind, and with any great change comes a flurry of reactionism. “We don’t need that,” or “what’s wrong with the old way of doing things?” or “why do you need a computer to turn off a light?” But for each of these perfectly human responses, it is equally easy to point to the comfort that comes from being able to lock the front door of the house remotely, or to answer the agonizing question, “did I leave the stove on?

As your house becomes a more intelligent part of the globally connected Internet, the benefits of new technology will once again eclipse the fear of change. For those who still doubt, perhaps they can ask the iceman next time he passes by.

This is a sponsored post by InnovateThink and Cisco.

By Steve Prentice

Follow us

Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.
Follow us

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics

At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Computing Growth

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Computing Growth

An excellent infographic provided by AwesomeCloud which predicts a continued high level of growth in the cloud computing industry. Potentially staggering numbers for Public Cloud IT Services of $100 Billion by 2016. Infographic Source: AwesomeCloud About Latest Posts Follow usSteve PrenticeSteve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture…

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow  Online Education is a very exciting topic for many as it opens up many new doors and opportunities. We’ve touched on areas such as Massive Open Online Sources (MOOC) which provides tremendous levels of cloud based interconnectivity. We’ve taken a look into higher education,  the increased demand for online courses as well as…

Monetization of the Internet of Things – Q&A With Brendan O’Brien

Monetization of the Internet of Things – Q&A With Brendan O’Brien

Q&A With Brendan O’Brien, Co-Founder of Aria Systems (Part 1) Monetization of the internet of things (IoT) is one of the most exciting and challenging issues facing the industry today, so we spoke with Brendan O’Brien to learn more. Brendan is the Co-Founder of Aria Systems, who are one of the leading innovators in recurring…

Cloud Infographic – Cyber Security And The New Frontier

Cloud Infographic – Cyber Security And The New Frontier

Cyber Security: The New Frontier The security environment of the 21st century is constantly evolving, and it’s difficult to predict where the next threats and dangers will come from. But one thing is clear: the ever-expanding frontier of digital space will continue to present firms and governments with security challenges. From politically-motivated Denial-of-Service attacks to…

Featured Sponsors

The Internet of Everything Opens Up The World

The Internet of Everything Opens Up The World

Shaping The World With New Technologies As a connected collection of intelligent objects, the Internet of Everything promises to open up those areas of the world hardest hit by economic, political and agricultural blights. Relatively inexpensive devices, paired with revolutionary energy sources and unprecedented access to information offer great promise to farmers and workers in…

Sponsors

Moving To The Cloud: A Smart Move Or Proceed With Caution?

Moving To The Cloud: A Smart Move Or Proceed With Caution?

Moving To The Cloud: A Smart Move Or Proceed With Caution? You hear it over and over again: The future of computing is in the cloud. Businesses should be moving to the cloud. If you’re not in the cloud, you’re behind the times. But trusting your essential data to a cloud may sound like a…

Placement Opportunities - Find Out!

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter