May 09, 2007

Innovation In Kitchen Appliances - Part 1

Over the long weekend I was playing around with my tablet PC and drew something I've been thinking about for a while now:

The Internet Fridge...  fridge: $500; latest laptop: $1000; funding top R&D team: few $million.  Being able to check email when six feet from my laptop: useless
(Click the image to see it full-size)

The idea for it came when Jeff and I were discussing ubiquitous computing after attending a BCS SPA Group presentation about Sun SPOTS.

It was an interesting demonstration of the technology, but I often wonder how useful or necessary it is to build devices with such powerful hardware. The Sun SPOTs have an ARM9 processor, which is much better than the mobile phones that I'm currently working with!

Part of me thinks that it just makes experimentation and proof-of-concept easier and quicker, which is good; but I also wonder if it merely results in nice-but-too-expensive toys. In my experience it isn't always easy to take something big and scale it down.

I think a better solution could be something like the Arduino boards. They aren't quite as self-contained as the Sun SPOTs, but have more believable costs and component choices (for mass-market applications). I'll hopefully be finding out more about them at this Takeaway Festival workshop tomorrow.

UPDATE: I've now posted my notes from the Arduino workshop and the second part of Innovation In Kitchen Appliances is here.


Posted by Adrian at May 9, 2007 10:36 AM | TrackBack

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