High tech oven aims to change how we cook

Oven dial

It seems that every appliance in our homes is going digital - our smart phones perform a variety of tasks, washer and dryers have sensors to determine how dirty or dry the clothes are, even our refrigerators are connected to the internet. One appliance has, until now, eluded the digital age: the oven. That is about to change, as US entrepreneur Matt Van Horn and his business partner Nikhil Bhogal are set to release the June Intelligent Oven

Says Van Horn, "The oven in my home today looked almost identical to the vintage ovens on shows like Mad Men … and not much had changed." He thought that it needed to be brought into the 21st century, and aimed to make a device complete with a touchscreen and a camera that would take the guesswork out of cooking.

During their research, Van Horn and Bhogal found that two processes were critical to consumers: maintaining temperature and knowing when food was done. The June oven aims to prevent overcooking foods, one of the chief complaints from home cooks. By utilizing "the precise heat from the elements and the machine's accumulated knowledge of the food - this is an oven that learns as it goes along - the oven can then give suggested cooking times to the user and alert them when the dish is finished."

The oven, which resembles a microwave, contains several features not found in conventional ovens. The unit is heated by six carbon fibre elements that can reach their full power astonishingly quickly. The oven can reach 175C (347F) in just over four minutes. Another feature is a camera that transmits live coverage of the food to a mobile phone. Sophisticated algorithms help identify foods inside the oven by shape, texture, and color. 

Call me a Luddite, but I'm content with the "modern" features on my oven like true convection and a self-clean cycle. The price of these machines will approach $3,000 USD in stores - rivalling much larger and more versatile high-end ranges. That's quite a price to pay for a guarantee of better roasted chicken (the oven is too small for the holiday turkey).

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