i3 | April 05, 2021

The Smarter Kitchen

Susan Schreiner

Although smart kitchen products like smart lighting, remote timing and control of appliances via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa-voice activated features exist already — staying-at-home during the pandemic increased the focus on how to make kitchens more functional. 

What makes an appliance smart? The key element involves integration — whether on a system-wide smart home basis — or simply within the boundary of a kitchen. Thanks to technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and IoT, the smart kitchen is flourishing.

CTA projects that smart home appliance revenue will reach $7 billion in 2021, and $8.4 billion by 2024. And nearly 9.1 million smart appliances will ship in the U.S. this year, expected to jump to 11.4 million by 2024, CTA says.

CES 2021 Smart Kitchen Showcase

A panoply of smart kitchen devices was introduced at CES including:

  • ColdSnap from Sigma Phase is a smart ice cream maker with prepackaged pods that deliver ice cream, frozen beverages and smoothies in seconds. The individual servings are flash frozen and dispensed via the appliance. ColdSnap is still in the prototype phase and also was a CES 2021 Innovations finalist.
  • Moley Robotics’ dexterous robot prepares freshly cooked meals with the skill of a master chef. The robot reliably reproduces the movements of human hands and can retrieve ingredients from the smart fridge, adjust oven temperatures, plate up and clean up after itself.
  • Oliver from Else Labs, a single pot cooking robot dispenses fresh ingredients to automate the cooking process with the help of temperature sensing and machine vision capabilities for unattended stovetop cooking.

Moley robot
Moley Robotics dexterous robot prepares gourmet meals.
Source: Courtesy of Moley Robotics

Countertop Devices

  • June Oven is a compact oven that is seven appliances in one: a convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster and warming drawer — controlled via smartphone since it’s Wi-Fi connected.
  • Millo Appliances introduced a smoothie blender based on its patented Magnetic Air Drive that allows for contactless powerful torque, to enable new cordless kitchen appliances controlled via smartphone.


  • LG InstaView side-by-side supports the ‘open the refrigerator’ door command when your arms are full. The InstaView window replaces part of the fridge door with glass; double-tap on it and the light inside turns on to reveal what’s inside. The LG Craft Ice produces two-inch ice balls popular on Instagram and the LG UVnano light in the water dispenser operates every hour to kill up to 99.99% of bacteria.
  • LG InstaView Range uses the knock-to-view technology of LG’s refrigerator line and includes an Air Sous Vide mode that can cook food in a vacuum-sealed bag at low temperatures for up to 48 hours. It works with LG’s ThinQ app for voice-assistant integration and remote monitoring.
  • Samsung’s smarter Family Hub fridge can control multiple rooms of connected devices. Family Hub 6.0 updates the 21.5-inch touchscreen with a new user interface, and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Nest support.
  • Samsung SmartThings Cooking links the refrigerator with the connected range and on-demand grocery services. It can create personalized meal plans and suggest recipes. It integrates with Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Kroger, Safeway and Walmart.
  • Samsung’s Bot Handy concept product with its precision robot motions can load a dishwasher and pour a glass of wine by analyzing the weight, size and material of common household items to pick them up without damaging them.

Water Solutions

  • Kohler Konnect is a voice-activated technology for kitchen tasks like filling pots. The smartphone app informs about your product’s water and energy usage to optimize efficiency. Kohler also integrates leak detection into its products through its partnership with Phyn.
  • Moen added a smart kitchen faucet and sump pump monitor to its line-up. It also announced a “security plan” for customers using its Flo leak detection system to monitor for leaks. 

i3 magazine March/April 2021 cover

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