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Internet of Things: 13 Innovations for a Smarter Kitchen

Grace Dobush

As the world becomes more interconnected, one area ripe for innovation is the kitchen. Everybody eats and one-fifth of households with broadband Internet plan to buy smart devices for their homes this year, according to a study by CEA and Parks Associates. More than 20 million smart home devices were sold in 2014 and that number is expected to top 35 million by 2017, with kitchen and home appliances making up a substantial portion of that segment.
It’s easy to see the advantages: smart devices for cooking aim to optimize food preparation and save time; while smart eating tools can help people with nutrition tracking and analysis. Here are 13 devices — some are already on the market; some are still in development phase; and many of which exhibited at the International CES — making kitchens smarter:
Countertop: It integrates with your kitchen’s other smart devices. The app can suggest a great smoothie for your Vitamix and suggest meals to make in your Crock-Pot. Countertop also syncs with your fitness band to customize post-workout meals. It can suggest a hearty breakfast when you had a rough night’s sleep and its recommendations get better with time as it learns what you like.

Crock-Pot WeMo: Busy chefs can adjust cooking time and temperature of Crock-Pot meals from their smartphones when work goes into overtime. The classic six-quart slow-cooker (which exhibited at the 2015CES) has been integrated with WeMo, a home automation app from Belkin, which also can control home automation systems and the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker.

Drop scale: Integrated with a recipe app, the Drop scale aims to make baking more accessible. The Bluetooth scale measures accurately from a gram to 6 kg, and the app easily lets you scale a recipe if you’ve not got enough of one of the ingredients. A touch button on the front of the silicone scale lets you move through a recipe without ever putting your floury fingers on your iPad.

HAPIfork: This electronic fork, which exhibited at the 2013 CES, aims to help you slow your eating, which aids in digestion and helps weight control. When you’re eating too fast, the fork vibrates and lights up to remind you to slow down. By uploading the data via USB or Bluetooth to the HAPI app or website, you can track how long you take to eat, your bite intervals and bites per minute.

Kuaisou chopsticks: Chinese search engine Baidu demonstrated in the fall a smart chopstick prototype called Kuaisou that can measure the freshness of cooking oil and the safety of water. Baidu hopes to develop them measure PH, temperature and calories as well. With recent concerns in China about contaminated food and beverages, this could be a game-changer.

Meld stove knob: Never again ruin a meal from over- or under-cooking: You can know exactly how hot you’re cooking with this Bluetooth-connected stove knob that you attach to your stove and corresponding thermometer clip that attaches to any of your existing cookware. The app automatically adjusts the stove temperature to the recipe’s needs.

MixStik and B4RM4N: When you’re making a batch of cocktails, the last thing you want to do is mess around with measurements, right? This cocktail shaker and mixing stick use LED lights integrated with a cocktail recipe app to tell you when to say when. The two devices by Magnified Self are still in the developmental stages, but could shake up future martinis.

Neo Smart Jar: Having trouble keeping track of what’s in your pantry? This smart container, made by SKE labs (a 2015 CES exhibitor), does it all: monitors stock levels of its contents, keeps track of “use by” dates,and syncs with shopping lists and fitness apps. The jar tells you when it needs to be refilled and it’s even dishwasher-safe.

SodaStream Mix: No matter whether the beverages are soft or hard, this next-generation SodaStream carbonates them to perfection with the Mix app’s recipes. Designer Yves Behar describes the process, revealed at Milan’s Salone de Mobile, as “alchemy.”

SmartyPans: These smart cooking pans monitor temperature, humidity and ingredients’ weight as you cook. The integrated recipe app alerts you when you’ve added enough of an ingredient or when the cooking temperature is too high.

Smarter wifikettle: When you absolutely need a cup of tea when you get home, this smart kettle from Smarter (a 2015 CES Exhibitor) is ready for you at the perfect temperature. You can set up a regular schedule and multiple users can get in on the brewing action. (Note: It’s a UK-designed product, so Americans who want a wifikettle will have to also get an adapter.)

Vessyl: Track the number of calories and nutritional content of everything you drink with this smart beverage container capable of analyzing liquids at the molecular level. The integrated app can help you cut down on caffeine, monitor your sugar intake or help you hit your daily hydration goals.
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