May 20, 2013
Imagine if most of your kitchen surfaces were covered with thin panel TV technology. The front door of your refrigerator would be a TV. Each cabinet door would be a TV. The microwave door would be a TV.
This idea would be impractical with current technology. But I imagine we aren’t far from having some sort of bendable screen material we can glue to any surface. It might be something like this.
Let’s say the kitchen knows who you are by the phone in your pocket that is communicating via Bluetooth. Imagine that you walk into the kitchen and all the TVs come alive. Perhaps the starting channel is nothing but scenery. Or perhaps each member of the family has a default channel that comes up when they are the only ones in the kitchen. If you have a home security system, perhaps it shows all of your camera views.
You can control everything in the kitchen by hand signals. Point to one monitor and “toss” a TV show to it. Pull up a recipe on another screen, a shopping list on another, and the family calendar on the fourth.
You’d have speakers in the ceiling, of course, so if you play music videos the kitchen will become a concert hall. If a Skype call comes in, it pops up on screen and the music cuts off automatically. Emails and texts would pop up on separate screens. Just face the screen to which you plan to respond and use voice commands.
Now mom or dad can prepare dinner while catching up on some TV shows, answering texts and emails, and organizing the family schedule.
I can also see the kitchen screens being synchronized to dinner plans. When it is time for something to go into the microwave, for example, the screen on the microwave door would turn into a picture of that item. When it’s time to chop some vegetables, a screen would show you the size of the cubes you want. I can imagine every step of the menu being visual and interactive. No more reading wordy recipes. Just watch the pictures and follow along.
The kitchen might need some sort of sound-proof doors to keep the rest of the house quiet while the kitchen is rocking.
Making a shopping list would be as simple as speaking the items you want. A picture of the item would pop up on screen for confirmation. When you’re happy with your list, just send it to the cloud and your groceries will be delivered to your door.
When you need to check on the kids doing homework just make a video call from the kitchen. By then all homework will be done on a tablet or device with a camera. If your kid takes longer than five seconds to answer the call, he wasn’t doing homework.
When it is time for dinner, call up a map that shows the location of all family members by their phones. You can see your spouse is only halfway home on the commute and your kid is still at soccer practice, so you time dinner accordingly. (Here I’m assuming privacy is a relic of the past.)
When it’s time to eat, tell the kitchen to automatically text each family member and show any replies on the screen.
You should also have cameras on the stove top so you can walk away and still keep an eye on whatever is boiling via your smartphone. Better yet, the smartkitchen should keep an eye on boiling pots on its own and adjust the heat as needed.
The kitchen is already the fun place to be in the house. But we’re nowhere near the limit of how cool the kitchen can become. And I didn’t even mention robots.