October 02, 2013
Last month, Parade magazine ran a short article about General Electric’s predictions for the “Kitchen of the Future 2025.” While many of the gadgets in development apply to the residential market, a couple certainly could find their way into commercial kitchens.
For example, a sink outfitted with integrated sensors will alert you when chemicals or bacteria are present on your produce, so you can keep scrubbing until all contaminants are safely removed. There’s also a disposal that turns food waste into ready-to-use compost pellets.
I admit I found some of the inventions silly—the nightstand that keeps your water cold or your tea hot. Or the washer/dryer that washes and dries by reading care instructions, but then compacts your clothes into, again—pellets—and stores them in the back of the dryer. When you want to grab a shirt and jeans, you press some buttons and those items “refresh” in the dryer (you can add a scent, too!). So in the future, you don’t need an iron or a closet, apparently. Half the time, our clean clothes never make it out of the laundry basket, so this one’s a tough sell for me.
More to my liking: G.E. says we’ll grocery shop with smart phones and home delivery, but it’s no prediction, it’s here. Tesco’s Homeplus market concept in Seoul, Korea, comprises walls of food photos in the subways. Customers scan QR codes in the photos, make their purchase electronically and the groceries are delivered when they arrive home. This idea could easily work for ordering takeout; I picture a whole wall of restaurant menus.
After surfing a bit, I found other innovations. It looks like applications for wireless electricity are developing quickly. We wrote about Boston-based WiTricity, in FCSI The Americas Quarterly back in 2010. Now another company, Fulton Innovation, is demonstrating its eCoupled wireless electricity platforms at the Consumer Electronics Show. On an eCouple-enabled kitchen counter made of any material, you can charge your phone, iPad, Kindle, laptop and more, run a cordless blender, sauté dinner in an induction pan or reheat your coffee without an electrical outlet or induction burner in sight.
Whether the ideas are silly or smart, it’s just fun to read about what’s coming down the pike.