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(High-tech) food for thought: What connected kitchens of future will look like

The recently-held Smart Kitchen Summit 2015 explored how connected kitchens could make our lives easier, healthier and less wasteful. 

The kitchen has always been the heart of the home.

A place to gather for a de-brief on the day while you cook for family and friends; a place to be soothed by comfort food; or simply a place to secretly indulge in your favourite snack straight from the fridge.

Kitchen appliances are designed to make our life easier, and over the ages they’ve transformed our lives. The gas stove was introduced in the early 1850s as the main source for cooking food.

The modern fridge was patented in 1918 and it revolutionised the type of food we eat and the way we store it. In 1967 countertop microwaves were introduced into kitchens and is still one of the most innovative and widely used kitchen appliances used today.

But imagine if your kitchen could text you recipe ideas based on the food about to expire in your fridge, then send a shopping list for missing ingredients to an online supermarket who will have It all delivered before you got home. This is the dream of the connected kitchen.

A connected kitchen is one where the appliances can connect to the internet or Bluetooth so they are able to communicate information to other appliances, devices or apps.

On November 9, 2015, The Smart Kitchen Summit 2015 was held in Seattle. The summit hosted designers, innovators and leaders in the kitchen space to discuss the great potential of the kitchen to simplify lives, reduce waste and encourage healthy eating.

Here are a few of the key take-outs to get you inspired for your next kitchen upgrade:

Digitise your food

Innit was one company with very bright ideas for the future of food. Their mission statement is ‘To empower humanity through food…We do this by giving food a voice.’

So how do we get food to speak? By digitising it.

Connected food? It's possible! Photo:

All food has a wealth of information about it: where it came from; its nutritional content; its expiry date; and information on how it should be cooked. Innit are collaborating with partners to put all this information on a cloud-based platform so that eventually you could have an inventory of all the food in your kitchen that could then generate recipe ideas and instruct the oven on how best to cook it. Very healthy ambitions.

Push a button, get your groceries

Hiku is a magnetic button that lives in your fridge and connects to an app on your computer, tablet or mobile. It scans barcodes, can take voice-recognition commands, and creates a shared shopping list that the whole family can see via the app. It takes the hassle out of remembering your shopping list.

At the moment Hiku doesn’t ship to Australia, but Coles are currently running a trial of the device, so watch this space.

Very clever containers

Who would think something as simple as a cup or a bin could become intelligent? If you struggle to drink enough water during the day, or if you’re watching your weight, Vessyl is a cup that can help you drink smarter. 

Smart utensils like Vessyl could change the way we consume food. Vessyl is currently under development but a prototype is available in the US. Keep track of when they launch in Australia. Photo:

The sensors within the cup can detect calorie and even caffeine content for you. Even your humble bin can become connected, GeniCan is an addition you can attach to your bin so that each time someone throws something away GeniCan can track it to create an inventory of items you no longer have in the kitchen.

Both Vessyl and GeniCan are still in their development phases. A prototype of Vessyl, called Pryme Vessel is available in the US and focuses functionality on ensuring you are optimally hydrated.

The GeniCan is available for pre-order in the US for early 2016 delivery. So stay tuned for when these appliances will eventually make their way to Australian shores.

The introduction of powerful broadband into our homes means great things for the intelligence of our appliances. Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.

Next step for our future homes, hopefully someone creates a smart ironing board that cleans, irons and folds the washing for us!

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