Homes are becoming smarter than ever, and arguably nowhere is that push more apparent than in the kitchen.
With Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators and appliances that can text you alerts, companies like LG and GE are leading the charge into developing some seriously high-tech ways to cook.
One trend involves looking at the kitchen as the social hub of the home.
“The kitchen is really a multifunctional living space where people cook and socialize with friends,” Chris Bissig, manager of concept and brand development at GE Appliances, said to Business Insider. “Some of these technologies might let people share meals even if they’re not in the same place.”
As far as aesthetics, versatility is key in the kitchen of the future.
“Our vision is of a clean, white island top. You could place the pots and pans wherever they need to be placed,” Bissig said. “It’s minimal, simple, with lots of flexibility.”
We’ve rounded up some of the most compelling ideas we’ve seen for the kitchen of the future. While some products are available for purchase now, others could be a bit farther out.
“It’s hard to predict when all of this will be available,” Bissig said. “A lot of the technology is already out there, but it may not be together in a package.”
Scanomat's TopBrewer would be a sleek addition to any countertop. Though it may look like just another faucet, it can dispense a multitude of drinks, including freshly brewed coffee, espresso, and cappuccinos, as well as sparkling water, milk, and soda.
The TopBrewer is also easily controlled by your smartphone or tablet, meaning that you can quickly prepare your favourite customised drinks from another room in the house. Very quickly, in fact -- 15 seconds is all it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
The entire system costs about $US11,000.
This kitchen thermometer from iDevices uses Bluetooth to alert you when your food has reached its optimal temperature, making it easy to multitask while you're cooking.
Its two prongs will even let you cook two different meats at once, even if they're at different temperatures. The two-pronged version retails for $US80, while a miniature model with one probe costs just $US40.
GE's social cooking model could bring people from all over the world right into your kitchen.
The concept, part of the company's vision for the home of 2025, imagines a technology that could project images of friends, family members, or even professional chefs. High-tech sensors and voice and facial recognition could potentially create a virtual cooking tutorial to help you out as you cook.
This concept design, which Whirlpool introduced at CES in January, involves an interactive cookspace suited for both Internet browsing and cooking.
If it were to become a reality, you could, for example, look up a recipe on Pinterest, push a button to activate the stove, then post a picture of the results on Facebook -- all on the same surface.
Nutrima, a concept product in Electrolux's design lab, involves a sensor that could measure a food item's freshness and nutritional content.
There's a social component to the device that allows users to share which restaurants and stores offer the highest quality food. The silicon tablet is even flexible enough to roll up and take with you.
The newest product in Belkin's line of smart products, this Crock-Pot is perfect for forgetful people or those who don't like keeping appliances on while they're away. Using the WeMo app allows users to power the slow cooker on and off or adjust the cooking time and temperature from anywhere.
It retails for $US129.99 and is available for purchase this spring.
As part of their vision for the home of 2025, GE introduced this high-tech faucet that could dispense filtered, carbonated, or iced water, in addition to vitamins and custom beverages.
The smart faucet concept also includes a built-in sensor that could tell you exactly how hydrated you are just by placing your finger on a button.
GE is simplifying the dish-washing process in their home of 2025 by moving the cleaning equipment right into the sink. Their concept dishwasher could clean small loads in just five minutes, and you wouldn't have to be constantly bending down to load and unload.
As an added bonus, built-in sensors could alert you when there's chemicals or bacteria in your produce, so you'd know just how long you should be washing them.
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