May 31, 2007

Innovation In Kitchen Appliances - Part 2

Here's the follow-up to the first sketch I drew about smart kitchens

The Intelligent Fridge... fridge: $500; annoying buzzer: $5; simple timer circuit: loose change; knowing I've left the door open BEFORE my food is ruined: priceless
(Click the image to see it full-size)

I think these sketches sum up one of the big problems with many of the ubicomp projects that end up in the press. It's a common problem when "the Internet" is added to other products: the assumption is that new-device-plus-Internet will be like a PC-with-Internet; but that's wrong. Just as Mobile Internet is more about where you are and what you're doing, almost to the point of supporting your current task rather than being the focus of the task; Internet-enabled appliances in the home will have uses tailored to their particular constraints and unique features.

Slapping a PC onto the front of a fridge shows a lack of imagination. There are many more useful features that could be added to white goods which wouldn't require anywhere near the same level of technology: a freezer defrost warning system (as shown in this sketch); a washing machine that detected when it had sprunk a leak and warned me (that would've saved me at least one kitchen floor...); a washing machine that texted me when it had finished the washing programme; a cooker which automatically lowered the gas if a pan boils over...

What would you like your kitchen to do for you, or tell you about?


Posted by Adrian at May 31, 2007 02:41 PM | TrackBack

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