The Smart Pan in the Integrated Kitchen

22 August 2008 at 21:39 | Posted in Integrated Home, Integrated Kitchen, Inventions, Smart Kitchen, Smart Pan | Leave a comment
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[Category: Inventions. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

The other day I had to warm something to 60 degrees in a pan. Right. So how can I do that? I can try to find a thermometer (or buy a specific kitchen thermometer), and then hold it in the pan until the temperature reaches the required level.

But that’s a lot of work, bad for my eyes because I would have to squint at the thing to try and read the level of its thin line of mercury, and time consuming because I have to wait holding the thermometer until the required temperature has been reached.

So why can’t the pan tell me what I need to know? What I need to know depends on what I am preparing, but the required data would have to include some or most of the following:

  • the temperature of the contents, so I can reduce or switch off the heat when required;
  • the volume (how many litres) there is in the pan, so I don’t have to measure things in some awkward way;
  • the salinity of the contents (how much salt is in it), which will enable me to standardize the salinity of food I cook;
  • the acidity of the contents which can be important to achieve certain taste nuances;
  • the sugar content;
  • the fat content;
  • and a whole range of other measurements, depending on requirements and what can be measured reasonably easily and cost-effectively (functionality upgrades could take place by means of firmware updates during the lifetime of the pan).

An LCD display fitted on the side of the pan would tell the user the information required, and buttons would enable “flipping” between different screens. The pan should have the ability to be programmed to sound the alarm when a pre-set value is achieved or exceeded.

Ideally, the electricity required for the display and sensors to operate would be generated from the heat generated during cooking.

Taking this concept further, we come to the integrated kitchen.

In the integrated kitchen, all pans and most other kitchen items and appliances would have the built-in sensors to sense the values mentioned above, but they would wirelessly communicate this with a central computer, a terminal for which would be installed in the kitchen. Depending on their usage, items and appliances could sense other values as well (a bread maker machine would sense different values than a pan, and a fridge or a dishwasher would obviously also sense different things).

The kitchen would have a bar-code scanner (or later, an RFID scanner) and all products brought into the kitchen would be scanned, so the kitchen would at all times be aware of its inventory. Pans and appliances would sense (or be told via scanning) what items were used, and the kitchen would list items to be purchased (and possibly order the items online from the local supermarket once a week or so).

Further more, appliances, pans etc. would communicate with each other. For example, I could set a pan to heat up to 60 degrees and stay at 60 degrees for 30 minutes, and the pan would communicate with the stovetop to maintain the heat at the correct level.

Much more functionality could be added to the integrated kitchen, which in turn would obviously be part of the integrated home (which also would include the smart taps outlined in another blog post).

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

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