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Kitchen tech now pushing the edge

July 28, 2021

The venerable National Kitchen and Bath Association, which has members in both the U.S. and Canada, recently noted that the emergence of voice-controlled devices and Wi-Fi “are changing the way homeowners interact with their appliances.”
Home BUILDER has taken a look at how manufacturers are adapting such new technology to the kitchen and we have found that some of the “internet-of- everything” innovations are pushing tech from the sublime to ridiculous extremes.
Intuitive controls, voice commands, built-in cameras and Wi-Fi connectivity to the outside world—and each other—are all featured in the latest products for prep, cooking and cleaning up.
Much of the new tech requires the adaption of voice assistants like Alexa from Amazon and Google Assistant, which are now becoming surprisingly common in Canadian homes. These are being linked to smart appliances to control everything from lighting to cooking tops and refrigerators. Appliances are even talking to each other—including a new “synced” clothes-washer dryer combo that chats via Wi-Fi about the size and composition of laundry.
Here are some of the more out-there smart appliances that are being pitched to consumers this summer (all available through Amazon):
Smart coffee mug. The Ember, invented by U.S. entrepreneur Clay Alexandra—who developed the first LED track lighting—is an app-controlled coffee mug that allows you to remotely set the temperature of your coffee. It costs $99.95.
Robot pot stirrer. Invented by industrial designer Gavin Reay, the grommet is an automatic pot stirrer that, with the push of a button, rotates around a pot or pan to make sauces, soups or gravy. It costs $25.95.

First touch-screen toaster with smart sensors.

Smart toaster. From Revolution Cooking, this is the first touch-screen bread toaster with built-in sensors for bread slices, bagels and waffles. It has a 15-second reheat function if the toast happens to get cold. It costs $299.95.
Voice-controlled microwave. From General Electric, the GE Smart Microwave Oven connects to Alexa so you can control it with your voice. It can also read bar codes on prepared food packages to cook food to supplier specs. It costs $179.99.

GenCan Scanner: attaches to kitchen trash to re-order items when you toss them out.

Can scanner. The GeniCan Scanner attaches to your kitchen trash can. Anytime you throw out an empty can, it scans it (or you can use the voice-control feature connected to Alexa or Google Assistant) and adds the item to your online shopping list. It costs $149.99.
Of course, rather than spend the roughly $800 that these smart items will cost, you could instead pour a hot cup of coffee when you want one, make the toast yourself using an analog toaster, turn on the microwave manually, stir your own soup and, oh yes, write a shopping list with another great invention, the pen.


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