Get ready for some big dinners! Computerized culinary magic is simmering as designers and manufacturers gradually introduce the smart kitchen; a high-tech space that helps you cook, clean, manage family activities and listen to your playlist all while stirring up a delicious meal. At the heart of every smart kitchen of the future, appliances will communicate with cloud servers and other wireless technology. Here’s a look at the features currently on display at the home design trade shows and conventions.
The warm, fuzzy feeling of hanging your child’s art on the refrigerator isn’t lost with a smart refrigerator. Ranging from $1,500 to well over $5,000, these steel behemoths not only display photos and drawings, they also save them into a digital archive. The in-door screens can present a slide show and transmit your images to a television or website. They also keep your food fresh, of course, by offering programmable features for varying temperatures. Some have interior cameras accessible via phone while you shop for groceries; others keep track of staples, such as milk and eggs, with expiration date sensors. Built-in screens help you keep a grocery list, place grocery delivery orders or doodle on a digital whiteboard. The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, a popular model, combines many smart features with a contemporary French-door design and plenty of storage space.
Ovens and Stove Tops
Are you attached to your favorite cookbook? Get an e-copy, load it into your digital bookshelf, and whip up your best dish with the help of a built-in screen that displays a recipe without getting in the way. Other helpful features on smart stoves include detectors that determine what’s cooking and suggest appropriate temperatures and cooking times. Some prevent burns and boil-overs by automatically lowering temperatures and sounding an alarm when things get too hot. And there’s no need to miss a minute of that movie you’re watching in the living room when you use your phone app to communicate with the oven, modifying the temperature on a roasting turkey without losing your seat on the couch. Smaller countertop ovens are smart, too: the June oven, priced around $1,200, has a built-in camera for peeking in on baking cookies, roasting vegetables or anything that’s inside. You can even record a video and post it to your social network before serving the goodies.
Hydroponic Herbs and Greens
Smart kitchens not only cook, they help you grow things to cook with. Forget the spice rack; invest anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in a hydroponic greenhouse such as the AeroGarden Bounty Elite kit, available through Williams Sonoma. Engineered for cleanliness, effectiveness and speed, these techie terrariums monitor hydration and lighting to nurture fresh greens for salads and seasoning. The larger models can even grow peppers and tomatoes. Not only are these compact gardens helpful to your health, they’re beautiful additions to home decor and fun conversation pieces when entertaining.
More Smart Stuff
Appliances are the mainstay of the smart kitchen, but there’s more smart stuff coming. Countertops with embedded charging ports, lighting remotely controlled by apps, self-filling pet dishes, burn-proof cookware, floor-cleaning robots and dust-level detectors are some of the new kitchen aids on the technology horizon. We can’t wait!
For now, computers aren’t lecturing us about calories, but could that be coming soon? With food-making so easy, it’s likely we’ll be in the kitchen more often. Now all you need is a chair to massage your shoulders while you sink back to watch “Rachel Ray” and snap peas the old-fashioned way.