Home automation was a major trend at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) earlier this month. The motif that got me particularly excited though was the automated kitchen – the smart kitchen! More appliances are responding to either your voice or touch of your phone, and less food is getting wasted!
FridgeCam – it’s designed to make any old fridge smart! Their food recognition software can track what’s in your fridge to save you from wasting food by scanning your food’s barcode whenever you put something inside. The fridge can look up when the food item will go bad. You’ll have to manually add fresh foods without bar codes but the app can give you a notification when they are getting close to expiring. Photos taken upon every fridge open and close will give you a visual log of what’s going on. Remember the last time you went to the store and couldn’t remember if you had enough milk for the next day? You can preorder now for $150.
Turns out, fridges can get even more self-aware than the FridgeCam! A device from Aryballe Technologies, called the NeOse Pro, uses chemical and optical sensors to identify different scent molecules. The idea is that companies could use the technology in quality testing if there was a known bad scent molecule and an ideal scent to test against. It will first be released commercially this coming summer but consumer release usually isn’t that far behind! Think of how often a food item secretly starts to go bad, contaminating other food along with it.
Not all of us can go out and get smart fridge technology but there are still some products to help with food conservation and waste. We’ve entered the era of everything being connected to the Wi-Fi to be made smart and this includes even luxury trash cans. Yes, LUXURY trash cans. Plural! The first is a device called the GeniCan. It scans garbage to automatically create your grocery list, matches coupons to products, and optionally delivers items to doorstep! GeniCan works with garbage and recycling, translating barcodes and your voice into customized grocery lists stored on the GeniCan app. You can preorder for $125.
The second garbage can product comes from a company called simplehuman, who showed off a voice-activated trash can that can open with commands like, “open sesame!” and tell you when it’s time to order more garbage bags (if you don’t want it to just order them by itself). There are two sizes that will release in March from $180-240.
If you are EXTRA serious about reducing waste (since the average family produces over 400 pounds of food waste per year), Whirlpool just released the Zera For Reycler. Turn a week’s worth of food scraps into usable fertilizer in just 24 hours! It’s conveniently sized and can be placed right next to a kitchen counter to easily brush in scraps. Retails at $1,200.
And in case your morning isn’t streamlined enough with your voice-activated, automated trash can, you too can have the world’s first smart toaster! In case you want to start toasting toast from … bed (I guess?), Griffin Technology will release Bluetooth-enabled smart toaster which is controllable by a companion smartphone app ($99.99).
Perhaps if you’re struggling to cook toast in the morning (like I am some days before my coffee), you may also benefit greatly from the Hello Egg, a kitchen assistant who will guide you with voice-navigated video recipes (and yes, function as a timer). It is also designed to help you plan your weekly meals according to dietary preference. And, like your deluxe trash can, it too can connect to 3rd parties to order groceries without much of your help. Preorder price $150.
Let’s not forget the kitchen can also be a place to kick back, socialize and relax. The next product comes from the French company 10-Vins whose inspiration was how to enjoy a glass of wine anytime, anywhere like you would served by a great sommelier at a restaurant. Referred to as the “Keurig for wine” (yum?), the D-Vine Connect features an interactive touchscreen that turns small glass vials of wine into a vineyard-quality glass in a matter of minutes. The D-Vine connects also acts as a wine pairing assistant. “Oh you’re having salmon? How about THIS Pinot Noir?” And even more exciting, the device plays a short clip about the wine’s vineyard and selection after a choice is made.
All the new smart appliances and gadgets are definitely making life easier. There were so many wonderful new kitchen items at CES this year it was a challenge to limit the list to these items.