A rite of passage, and a discussion of automated kitchens!

I sold my smart for two on Friday. It was a great car (had it for year) and really enjoyed both the quality of the car and the dealership. But, driving in DC, I didn’t feel safe on the highway in the smart car. Sad, but because it was so small people routinely cut me off I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. When you are zipping around town or zipping around the suburbs it is a phenomenal car.

Cars are coming with more and more sensors enabled. From collusion radar to 360 degree cameras and blind spot sensors the world will soon be in your cockpit. I remember as a child flying to Europe. I got to go into the cockpit of the airplane. I wanted all those instruments. Cars are available now that have have much of the insturments, from GPS, in car entertainment and the ability to control the environment of the car. The car as a rolling CPS sensor is nearly here.

That got me thinking about automating the kitchen.  Don’t ask me how selling a car got me interested in kitchen automation. It is the sad reality of how my brain works. (or doesn’t work as my sons often say). Kitchen appliances are moving towards smart appliances first. Ones that are aware of when they are needed and when they can be off completely. You can now buy cooktops with induction systems and convection ovens for your home. I was the head cook at Bloomington Indiana’s fanciest restaurant in college. We had a convection oven in the kitchen and I have been waiting for affordable convection ovens ever since.

That Kitchen automation is coming. Mostly because there are so many things you can automate that will help people. For example if you are making Spaghetti and pull a jar of sauce form the pantry then why wouldn’t everything in the kitchen start preparing for that? Like you have garlic bread so automatically turn on the Oven.

That got me thinking about a post I wrote for Safegov more than two years ago. Does your refrigerator know too much. First off it probably doesn’t today. But in an automated kitchen of tomorrow is it possible that your appliances know more than they should? I would say no, there really isn’t a lot of risk in knowing that I like to drink a green drink (veggies and fruit mixed) for breakfast. Or that my children open the refrigerator 200433 times a day. Everyday. And often stand in front of it looking for something to jump out and bite them.

From an automation perspective you could make the job of making dinner easier by having things ready. A QR or bar code reader embedded in the pantry that knows what you are taking out. A control panel in the kitchen that pops up and says you’ve gotten the following out, the last time you got that out you made X. Are you making X today? You click yes or not and everything starts preparing. Pre-heated ovens, etc. ready for you to start.

Perhaps then your kitchen would know too much. If it were hacked it would reveal that no one is in the kitchen (and by extension the house) from 11 am to 4 pm every day. That you like to drink milk but often waste a 1/2 gallon because you forget you have milk. Or that tin December you buy egg nog. That if you have a pork roast in the refrigerator you have cranberry sauce in the pantry. Yes devices that may know too much. Possible. But how much easier would cooking be?


Future Kitchen Fan