Tag Archives: technology

Touch Sensitive Controls Are The Next Big Thing

jan. 10

Touch control technology is here to stay. The idea that all we need to do is to simply touch something to make something happen has gone far beyond the capabilities offered by our smart phones. The technology has taken the kitchen by storm.

Enter touch control systems on the range hood.

Touch control technology makes using the range hood even easier than you might have thought it could be. All you need to do to activate the fan to whatever level is appropriate for what you’re cooking is to touch a button.

Touch control enhances accessibility, too. The technology makes using a range hood very easy for people with mobility or fine motor issues.

Best of all, the touch controls are super easy to clean. You know that grime that can hide behind knobs? Well, it just won’t be there anymore. Touch controls are typically embedded into a panel that requires a simple wipe to clean.

Contact us to find out with range hoods come equipped with touch control.

Monthly Pick – 2017 Kitchen Appliance Trends

Photo: hgtv.com

Photo: hgtv.com

2017 will bring us many of the same trends we’ve been seeing over the last few years. Stainless steel remains as popular as ever. Natural materials, like wood and stone, also maintain their top position.

We can look forward to some changes, though. That’s definitely good news. As beautiful as stainless steel appliances are, they do present owners (and prospective owners) with some challenges. The fact that stainless steel seems to attract finger prints is enough to drive the more meticulous among us around the bend. Any accidental nicks and scratches are also glaringly visible. There’s also the fact that stainless steel appliances are more expensive than those with regular finishes.

The good news is if you want your kitchen to be in style, but you don’t want the hassle or expense of stainless steel, you’re in luck.

Here’s what we’ll see in kitchen appliance design through 2017.

Go French. Say good-bye to ordinary, boring doors. This year, you’ll see more French doors on ovens. French doors are basically double doors (check out the picture above). You can open one side with one hand. But, if you want to open both doors at the same time, you’ll need both hands.

Digital magic. 

Photo: hgtv.com

Photo: hgtv.com

I’m not sure why it’s taken appliance manufacturers so long to design this feature into their products. We’ve been using it for ages on our various computer devices. I’m talking about touch-and-swipe controls. Instead of turning a knob or pressing a button, you’ll swipe over a designated area.

Cool and clean.

Photo: hgtv.com

Photo: hgtv.com

Stainless steel may not be on everyone’s wish list. So, designers and manufacturers have teamed to bring the best of the past and the present together. Welcome, white. This isn’t just any old white, though. This is a streamlined, glossy, easy-to-clean white that won’t show the finger prints or dents like stainless steel does.

High tech.

Photo: hgtv.com

Photo: hgtv.com

Bluetooth technology is just about everywhere … even in the kitchen. Welcome to the modern world where your oven can sync with the clock, the microwave, and any other appliance you might need to prepare a meal.

Which of these trends would you love to install in your own kitchen?

 

This Is How To Integrate Technology Into Kitchen Design

Fri - tech integrated kitchen

The Internet of Things isn’t the future of kitchens. It’s the now. Digital technology is revolutionizing how we define every aspect of that room we call the heart of the home. Range hoods with built-in computer sensors is one thing. But, how about a whole kitchen full of computer technology.

Kitchen design used to be about fitting in the usual appliances plus working out the best traffic patterns to make the space functional. The last consideration (though equally important as the rest) was deciding which finishes would complete the look.

Now, kitchen design must factor in our growing dependence on technology. From finding a recipe based on the ingredients in your fridge and pantry to turning on your oven while stuck in traffic, technology is going to inform not just how our kitchens look, but also how we understand tasks like cooking and cleaning.

Sync your appliances. Let’s say you’re running late. You want to have dinner on the table at a certain time, but you know that you won’t be able to. Wait a minute. Maybe you can. With a simple app, you can connect all your appliances to your phone. Turn the oven on and monitor how the food is cooking. That’s just two of the benefits of synching an app on your phone to your kitchen appliances.

Smart cooktops. Sometimes you want to boil a big pot of water, and other times, you just want to warm a small pan of liquid. Unfortunately, standard cooktops are all the same size. Yes, you can vary the heat from a simmer to maximum power, but the end result will always be the same. The burner will not be able to heat the entire bottom of the large pot evenly, and even the lowest heat setting is too much for a small amount of liquid. Smart cooktops can adjust to the size of pan or pot ensuring even cooking over the entire surface area.

A place for all devices. There are so many recipe apps available today. Whether they allow you to upload your own personal recipes or help you search the Internet for exactly what you’re looking for, smart phones and tablets have worked their way into a special place in our lives. Forget about storing cookbooks. One app can provide you with many books worth of recipes. You can buy a stand to lift your device off the counter so that the recipe is easy to read. You can also buy special covers to protect the device from fingerprints and splatters. Let’s say you’re cooking up a series of recipes off an app on your tablet. Let’s say, too, that you don’t have an outlet handy. You know your tablet will be on for a while, and you don’t want the battery to die before you’re done cooking. You can actually have a special charging station installed in your countertop. Some rise up like elevators from beneath the countertop surface. All you need to do is prop up your device and it will charge it within view or not.

Motion sensitive on/off switches. We’ve all been there. Your hands are covered in whatever you’ve just been handling – oil, batter, flour, egg whites. You need to turn on the tap to wash your hands. But, grabbing the tap means gunking it up with whatever’s on your hands. Argh, yet something else to clean! Well, now you can install motion sensitive on/off switches. Wave your hands in front of the tap and, voilà, water pours out.

Over to you: what kind of kitchen technology would simplify your life?

Best Faucets for Kitchen Sinks

Sink faucets are always the last thing on everyone’s mind. They’re generally considered to be a mundane and boringly practical aspect of the kitchen sink. Some faucets may include a special extension hose for ease of use when washing dishes or doing other similar chores, but they are certainly near the bottom of the list when it comes to priority pieces in your kitchen design.

Yet, faucets have become quite a bit more sophisticated than they once were, and you might be surprised to find just what choices are available to you in renovating your kitchen space. If you’re willing to add to your kitchen’s overall sense of luxury with a chic, high-performing faucet, then you might want to check out some of the luscious designs below.

The Design
In some cases, simply alternating from the typical design of kitchen faucets may give your kitchen a more glamorous and luxurious tone. Our brains become accustomed to seeing the kind of sink faucet in almost every household, and this is part of the reason why we don’t see them as something that really adds to the overall impression a certain design may give off. If you simply want a more contemporary design with basic function, many designs exist to meet his purpose.

FaucetPhoto Credit: beacon.com

Technologically Savvy
Do you dream of a kitchen faucet that you can turn on and adjust the temperature with the simple touch of a button? Well, there’s a solution for that. Depending on your tech savvy lifestyle and your desire for the ultimate luxury experience, consider a non-traditional faucet that doesn’t need hot or cold handles, because the off/on and temperature settings are all controlled with touch-sensitive technology atop the faucet itself.

Faucet1

Photo Credit: trendecoration.com

Simple Luxury
Finally, if you don’t want to invest a lot of time or attention into your new sink faucet system, consider something that is still somewhat basic while still deviating from traditional faucet designs. This faucet is fully operation with just the side knob, and while there are no technological perks or eye-catching design wonders, it does offer a break from the norm in its high spine and flat design as opposed to the pip-like design of the average faucet.

Faucet2

Photo Credit: faucetsuperdeal.com

These are just a few of the alternative faucet designs available for the contemporary kitchen. Do you know if any other fantastic faucet designs not mentioned here? Leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments below!

Kitchen Tech Tuesday: Selia Motion-Sensing Faucet from Pfister

Last week we took a look at Kitchen Tech Tuesday: Nest Learning Thermostat, a smart thermostat designed to save energy. This week we’re going back to a kitchen product: the Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet. Touch-free devices are all the rage and the Selia is no exception.

This kitchen faucet turns on when it senses something in front of it. Other versions on the market require the user to tap it or wave their hand over a specific area around the faucet. This faucet also allows you to control water temperature with a dial under the sink. The handle on the faucet controls the water pressure. Pfister advertises this faucet as having REACT technology.

The Selia is complete with a pull out hose, automatic timer for auto shut off and stainless steel finish. The sensor is located at the base of the faucet and adjacent to the handle. The pull out hose allows the user to clean the sink with more ease with the multi-directional pull out hose, and the automatic timer shuts off the faucet to save energy and conserve electricity. The stainless steel finish gives the product a professional and quality look.

The Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet is a motion sensor   hands-free faucet designed to be responsive and easy to use.

About Pfister: Pfister produces kitchen faucets, bath faucets and drill-less shower systems at a professional grade level. Pfister has been around for 100 years and was the first faucet company to produce a faucet approved by EPA WaterSense. WaterSense is a water conservation program in conjunction with the US Environmental Protection Agency. Pfister also provides products for custom homebuilding.

Comparable Products: Similar available products include motion-less faucets from brands like Kohler, Moen and Delta. (Kohler also sells a kit that converts your Kohler toilet to a touchless flushing system.) It’s not clear yet whether or not Pfister’s Selia stands up to the competition, but it’s definitely clear that Pfister’s motion-less faucet will be half as expensive as some of the alternatives.

Pros: The Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet will retail at $300 at Lowes in November, which costs as much as half as the price of other models. The cheapest alternative on the market costs $400.

Cons: It’s unclear yet whether or not the technology used in the Pfister version stands up to the more costly competition on the market.

Other Kitchen Tech Information:

-Check out some of the glamorous range hoods we spotted in our blog post Top 5 Crazy Looking Range Hoods Part 2. These hoods look fabulous as well as containing some powerful kitchen tech.

-What’s the difference between a gas range and an electric range? When purchasing a new oven, whether you’re remodeling the kitchen or just doing some upgrades, you’ll want to consider what type of cooking surface you prefer. These infographic from Range Hoods Inc may help you by supplying you with some useful information on the subject!

What do you think? Is $300 for a motion-less faucet worth it? It definitely sounds more hygienic!

 

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Alima Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Most houses have the recommended smoke detectors on each floor and the carbon monoxide detector near the garage, just to be safe. Indoor air pollution at home isn’t something we give a lot of thought to until a fire happens or an alarm goes off once in a blue moon. With the Alima from AirBoxLab, indoor air pollution is now something you can track and keep a handle on. If you’d like more information on kitchen technology, read our last blog here: Kitchen Tech Wednesday: iGrill Mini.

The Alima aims to revolutionize the way we think about the air in our homes. It isn’t just a detector; it’s a monitor that allows you to keep charts and graphs of air pollutants and access them from the smart app. Indoor air pollution, although not often talked about, is a serious concern; it’s the reason why every kitchen should have a range hood installed to ventilate air during cooking. Air pollution can contribute to illness, respiratory problems, and in some cases, cancer and premature deaths.

The Alima tracks VOC (total volatile organic compounds), PM (particle matter), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature and RH (relative humidity). VOC includes compounds like formaldehyde, ethylene glycol and benzene. The information is pushed to a Cloud and then to your smart phone and/or tablet, where you can check the levels. It works with iOS (for iPhone) and with Android. The Alima also makes predictions about your home air pollution based on recorded history. It will ping you on your phone and tablet if there’s a problem.

The Alima was funded through an Indiegogo campaign, which ran from January to February 2014. It retails at $299, but some backers of the Indiegogo campaign received it with a $100 rebate.

Our favorite technical feature of the Alima is its ability to crowdsource the data it collects. As a result, users can reference a database and research how much air pollution specific appliances and objects contribute to the home. Hopefully, this will give consumers more purchasing power and help them make decisions about what to buy.

We’re also in love with the design of the Alima. It’s a small, white cylinder with a very futuristic look. Different colored LEDs communicate the pollution readings; the lights show through the small holes that create a design along the cylinder. We love that this monitor is as pretty as it is useful. It won’t stand out too much and should easily compliment home décor.

We’re not sure if consumers will embrace the Alima, given the high price tag, but it’s definitely a great product. It may empower you to be in control of the air in your home. As technology advances and homes become smarter, you’ll no longer be a bystander to the particles that may be making it harder to breathe or function inside your house. Have you tried the Alima? Let us know what you think!

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: GKILO & CLOGK

For this week’s Kitchen Tech Wednesday, we interviewed Stefano Marangoni, the Team Leader behind Thingk’s GK series. The GK series includes GKILO, a smart food scale, and CLOGK, a smart kitchen timer. You can read last week’s Kitchen Tech Wednesday blog post here: Kitchen Tech Wednesday: SodaStream.

Range Hoods Inc interviewed Stefano Marangoni, the Team Leader at Thingk. Stefano and his colleagues at a hi-tech multinational company came together. They built a team of technology gurus, engineers and designers to create GKILO and CLOGK.

GKILO is a wooden food scale with a LED display that appears when you touch it. When it turn it over, the display becomes a clock. CLOGK looks similar but is a timer.

Range Hoods Inc: Please explain how the devices are designed to be wireless ready, such as the wireless module built-in. Also please explain the wireless add on. 

Stefano Marangoni: The production of a high quality product, with high design, good materials and a modern user experience, is very expensive and the cost of the single product depends a lot on the production volume. For this reason, we declared a stretch goal in our campaign: with $200,000 USD, we will include in our products a wireless module that completes the functionality of the devices.

The wireless add-on is based on Bluetooth technology, which has low power consumption and is included in all smart phones. In the case of the $200,000 USD goal, we will include in our products a module developed by our team.

As of now, we are at about $50,000 USD, so we do not have enough budget to develop the custom module. However, we designed our products to be wireless ready: in our PCB core we have a USB port, driven by a FTDI chip. Thanks to this, we can manage serial communication. Thus, if one of our customers wants to add the wireless functionality, he or she can buy a module. We are developing firmware to manage this communication, and we will be happy to share the firmware with our customers.

RHI: Where did you get the idea for a device that looks like a decoration or paper weight until it is touched for use?

Stefano: We believe in Open Design, and we think this “philosophy” will change the role and the working method of tech companies. For this reason, from the beginning, we involved our network (designers, geeks, but also common people) to understand their needs and to collect suggestions on the best user interface. Then, and this was the most difficult part, we worked to give a natural touch to our products. We were inspired by the concept of Animism, so we tried to create devices that seem natural and totally unanimated; only when you touch them, they switch on and show their functionality.

RHI: Will customers be able to pull up recipes in the mobile app?

Stefano: We are working on the app development, and we are open to suggestions. For example, some backers asked us to introduce an “automatic scaling” of the ingredients. In a recipe, you have the quantities for a certain number of people. However, sometimes you want to cook smaller quantities, so we are developing a function in the app to give you the ability to weigh one ingredient and automatically scale the other ones in the recipe. We are also talking with our colleagues from “Oh my Cook!” in Polihub (the start up incubator we are in) to integrate recipes in our mobile app.

RHI: What future projects does THINGK hope to accomplish?

Stefano: We want to introduce one series per year, exploring all the range of everyday objects and try to innovate them. We are working on a mirror, which will be able to give you useful information and on a pillow that detects when you are asleep and that is able to switch on and off electronic devices and lights. It will also monitor your sleep/wake cycles. And we are also working on a disruptive device, but I can’t tell you anything more: it’s an early stage project! However, beside single devices, our goal is to revolutionize the segment of everyday products, introducing a new way of thinking in this category.

RHI: Where does THINGK see the human-machine relationship going and progressing?

Stefano: We started with servers, then we introduced the Personal Computer; in the last decade smart phones have become a fundamental piece of our everyday life. Now, every new version of a traditional tech object is improved with Internet functions: smart TVs, cars. It’s only a matter of time, but humanity tends to be more and more surrounded by technology. It’s normal: we are the smartest and the more social animal species, and we cannot accept anymore to interact with objects that are not smart and not “social” or connected each other. Intelligence and sociality are part of us and we tend to construct a world that is similar to us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth interview with Stefano from Thingk. What is your favorite smart technology?

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: SodaStream

Last week we discussed Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Mellow Smart Sous Vide Cooker. This week we’re going over a popular home appliance that is relatively new: the SodaStream. How much money a year do you spend on soda? Also, how many calories a year do you think you consume from soda alone?

The SodaStream is a countertop soda maker for soda lovers that are sick of buying bottles of soda from the store and/or want to have a healthier alternative to soda in their homes. You may have seen the Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, featuring Scarlett Johansson.

To use a SodaStream, you fill the bottle it comes with with water and let it cool in the fridge. When it’s cold, connect the top of the bottle to the SodaSteam unit and fill it with the amount of carbonation you prefer. Then, you add the flavoring to your soda. Currently, Amazon is offering a $20 rebate on SodaStream models until August 31, 2014.

The SodaStream works with the use of a carbon dioxide canister. This canister must be replaced or refilled after you use it on 60 liters of soda. Customers can trade out their canisters for $15 at retailers, such as Target, Williams-Sonoma, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Sur La Table. This means you will have to spend more money on the SodaStream throughout its lifetime.

The SodaStream Source model, pictured in this blog post, is a popular choice and was designed by Yves Behar. Even though you have to purchase canister refills and soda syrups, using the SodaStream means spending less money on soda from the store overtime. Additionally, you won’t have to transport the soda, store it or store the empty bottles for recycling.

SodaStream also sells syrups for flavoring the soda; many of their syrups emulate the name brand sodas, such as Coca Cola, Sprite and Red Bull. These versions contain no high fructose corn syrup and less sugar and calories than the regular versions of name brand sodas. However, owning a SodaStream does make it easier to create bigger servings of soda, which will mean you’ll be consuming more sugar on a regular basis.

Some families choose to purchase a SodaStream simply for the ability to make their own sparkling water and seltzer. For a sweeter taste, you can add fruit juice or simply add lemon juice to the sparkling water for an alternative to soda or coffee.

Lastly, the SodaStream is a more sustainable option when compared to buying soda in bottles or cans from the store. The empty bottles and cans leftover from drinking soda create waste. The SodaStream uses one, BPA free bottle for storing the sparkling water. You can purchase additional bottles if needed.

Do you own a SodaStream? Let us know what you think.

Kitchen Gadget Wednesday: The Golden Goose

This week’s kitchen gadget may be unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a kitchen. This gadget looks more like a Victorian spinning toy, typically made of string and wood, than a kitchen tool. Last month, we discussed Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Brieftons Spiral Peeler. Today, let’s take a look at The Golden Goose in-shell egg scrambler.

The name of this kitchen gadget is a fun play on words originating with Aesop’s Fable The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs. It may also remind you of a scene from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The Golden Goose is a product, popular on Kickstarter, which allows the user to scramble an egg without ever opening it. As a result, the yolk and white of the egg combine; when hard-boiled, an egg scrambled with The Golden Goose is gold in color and is super soft. The taste and texture of the egg is changed. This is a kitchen gadget you probably never knew you needed or wanted.

The product design is the launch product for Y Line Product Design. Veteran product designer Geraint Krumpe spear-headed the project on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter page raised $170,277 (this is more than 500 percent of the Kickstarter’s first goal) to fund the production of the gadget. Over 5,000 people backed the product on the fundraising website. The Golden Goose is available through pre-order at the price of $24.99 and will be shipped to customers in November of 2014.

http://www.kitchengoose.com/wp-content/uploads/KitchenGoose-GalleryImage1-final.jpg

Viral videos on Youtube explain how to create a golden scrambled egg by using a long sleeve t-shirt and rubber bands. Simply place the egg in the middle of the t-shirt sleeve and secure it in place with rubber bands tightly wrapped on each side of the egg. Then, wind the sleeves quickly; once the sleeves are tight, pull hard. Repeat this action over and over. Meanwhile, the egg is spinning and the yolk and white of the egg are evenly mixed.

Y Line Product Design was inspired to create a simple kitchen gadget that will allow users to create golden eggs in their kitchen. The Golden Goose is made up of two handles (which look like rings), nylon cords, a scrambling chamber, a securely locking ring and an adaptive egg cradle. Besides creating yummy eggs, The Golden Goose is also supposed to be fun to use.

The Golden Goose was also designed to be sustainable. It is made out of recyclable materials and is BPA free. It uses the power of centrifugal forces to mix the egg without breaking it. Krumpe’s Kickstarter page has some photos of meals made with golden eggs, including deviled eggs, soft-boiled eggs paired with crackers, an egg salad sandwich, a salad with slices of hard-boiled golden eggs and even deep-friend golden eggs. What would you create with The Golden Goose in your kitchen?

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Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Brieftons Spiral Peeler

This week’s kitchen gadget has a function that looks fun and visually interesting; it turns vegetables into swirly spaghetti. The Brieftons Spiral Peeler is for those who would like to add more vegetables to their diet while removing carbohydrates, like those in regular pasta.

Last week we talked about the Food Cycler in Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Food Cycler. The Food Cycler is a tabletop composter, which makes use of food scraps. The Spiral Peeler turns vegetables like zucchini, carrots and cucumbers into stringy pasta. The julienned vegetables can be used as pasta, salad or stir fry.

Brieftons advertises its peeler as stainless steel with Japanese blades that offer two different sizes for different cuts of vegetables. This handy tool can be purchased on Amazon for $19.95 with Amazon Prime free shipping. Most of the reviews on the product are positive. A few people had problems with vegetables being too soft for the blades. Overall, customers seemed satisfied.

This kitchen gadget comes with a brush for cleaning. It looks easy to clean and its small size makes it easy to store away. Brieftons says using the Spiral Peeler is as easy as sharpening a pencil. This fact, coupled with its small size, make it more appealing than other spiral peelers on the market, which are bulky and are turned with a hand crank. Also, the Spiral Peeler is not electric.

This little tool definitely appeals to those on the paleo and/or gluten-free diet. The paleo diet consists of proteins, produce, nuts and oils. The goal is to eat more like our Paleolithic ancestors, which includes cutting out processed and refined foods. The Spiral Peeler will definitely be helpful in pursuing this diet. You can use it to create pastas made entirely out of vegetables, versus using store bought pasta. According to Brieftons, the peeler also works on potatoes and apples.

Do you really need a spiral peeler to eat gluten-free, homemade pasta? Angela on Oh She Glows decided to go with a julienne peeler, which looks effective but also looks like it may take more time to cut through the vegetables. You can always go to the store and purchase gluten-free pasta, but this has more calories than vegetable pasta and requires a trip to the store.

Regardless of which spiral peeling method you choose, spiral peeling creates a fun way to eat vegetables. Even if you’re not on the paleo diet, it’s a great opportunity to reduce the processed foods you eat and to eat lighter meals without much effort. You don’t have to forgo that delicious pasta sauce to save calories! Spiral peeling vegetables also makes eating more fun for kids who don’t look forward to eating vegetables.

Have fun in your cooking adventures. If you’ve tried the Brieftons Spiral Peeler, let us know what you think.