The goals of the system is three-fold
- Be able to create candy products that are safe to eat.
- Be able to have reproducible product formulas.
- Be able to be self-contained, flexible and quantitative
The wise kitchen helps individuals with different capabilities meet their dietary goals
The goals of the system is three-fold
The input supplies to the system must be able to have varying chemical structure and have quantitatively controllable properties.
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Boundary conditions on the system include the requirement to be food-friendly, tolerant of temperatures of 300ºC, inexpensive to build and clean, quantitative and flexible. User interface must be able to support varying levels of sophistication.
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The power sources for cooking include electric heating element, natural gas flame, water vapor and a combination of more than one of these together.
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In exploring the wise kitchen concept, my real-world project will be a candy cooking pot. The candy maker would understand the chemistry of cooking candies and how different forms of sugar change with temperature.
A Novitiate candy maker monitors the temperature and energy flows for a recipe so that I can reach the "hard crack" and "soft ball" stages with digital precision. Of course, it will also let me learn first-hand how to make candy.
The smart candy maker would have two modes of operation. First, it would replicate existing recipe patterns. Once the recipes are developed, I should be able to make salt-water taffy, caramels and peanut brittle effortlessly. The Novitiate would allow me to explore different cooking formulas and develop new candies.
As I move toward the goal of creating a wise stove, the prototype will also explore user interface design.
I hope that the cooker could be used by confectioners to develop new products. I might locate a local candy factory that would give me some lessons. Finding a "beta tester" would be awesome once I get far enough along.
A mature product developed from the Novitiate would work with small batches and be reasonably priced. The system will be a success when it does not make a mess too easily.
I'll be ecstatic if I find some way to satisfy my sweet tooth without needing to let out my jeans.
I just uploaded the obligatory back-of-the-envelope image of the candy cooker.
One of the reasons I chose a candy cooker as the first instance is that candy is cool. I have an old mercury based candy thermometer and think that having a closed loop control system would be more fun and less toxic if I mess up.
Another motivation for this project is the ease of making a working prototype.
[Full disclosure: the envelope came much later than the candy cooker concept.]
One goal of the wise stove is to keep what happens in the kitchen, in the kitchen.
For a child, this means that there will be no visits to the ER for a burned hand or broken ankle. For the clumsy homemaker, the stove will cook food without requiring that the pan be placed just-so. For the one who forgets to turn off the burner, the stove will monitor the cooking. When needed, it will pause until the cook returns from the restroom.
The wise stove is made to last. It is not designed with planned obsolescence. Instead, each component is designed with care so that it will not need updates or revisions. Repairs will be easy with standard modules in a robust system. The wise stove's design will be elegant, succinct and durable. Users of a wise stove get the cooking steps displayed or spoken in a user-appropriate technique.
A wise stove uses energy carefully and is adaptable to different energy sources. The thermodynamics of cooking is relatively simple. The wise, adaptable stove can use the chemistry of foods and thermodynamics of the cooking surface to the cook's advantage. It can be aware of the effects of altitude on the cooking process.
The range top will be based on a grid of small heating modules that detect the location of pans. The temperature sensors in the pan and countertop identify the temperature of an item. The stove recognizes when the dish is boiling and the recipe specifies the power density it needs. With this information, the stove can keep meals from burning and pans from boiling dry.
As part of a wise kitchen, the wise stove notices when similar dishes are cooked repeatedly. The kitchen can identify related recipes that could be appealing.
The wise kitchen and its stove could notice when too little protein or too much fat is being eaten. When asked, the kitchen can encourage meals that are more balanced. However, without using an iron "smart fist," the wise kitchen will be an assistant to managing chronic diseases, never a drill sergeant or dictator.
Although a smart kitchen will cook food quickly and effortlessly, a wise kitchen is more resilient. Rather than enabling the optimal afternoon snack, a wise kitchen helps cook food quietly and effectively. It can consult the diners when the menu for dinner is uncertain.The wise kitchen has a general understanding of the household's needs.
In the small, the wise kitchen would be able to suggest recipes for a meal. By knowing the contents of the pantry, the wise kitchen could prefer recipes that only need what's available. The kitchen would notice the home-owner's eating patterns and could help make that stir-fry again. When asked, the wise kitchen would be aware of the family's habits and suggest variations or new dishes.
When the cook is ready, the wise stove would help make dinner just so. For breakfast, the quick oatmeal and raisin dish could be enhanced by almonds. Easy and practical would be just as important as on-time and fitting the perfect weight loss plan.
A smart kitchen might demand that the diet be optimally balanced. A wise kitchen would assist a person to follow their chosen diet.
Above all else, the wise kitchen would be adaptable. A wise kitchen would handle the transition away from a traditional kitchen smoothly. Rather than requiring infrastructure and networking, the wise kitchen would be modular, easily repaired and competitive with smart apps and their siloed data stores.
Although a smart kitchen can promise to offer much, the wise kitchen merely offers to help you find a solution to your all-too-common cooking problem.
Wise Kitchen Initiative
Challenge: Help individuals with different capabilities meet their dietary goals.
A kitchen is a place that virtually every home needs. Whether it is to cook a banquet for the family reunion, a snack for the kids to take to school or the perfect close to a romantic evening, the kitchen must be ready for all of them.
Technologists try to address the Kitchen Problem with Smart Technology. Appliances that calculate how long to cook a pizza in the microwave. A refrigerator that knows when the milk is spoiled and the bananas on the counter are mushy. A stove that is energy efficient and can be cleaned with the push of a button. Apps that tell the user how to lose weight including how many steps to take and how many carbs to eat.
Every problem that the aspiring chef faces has a solution with yet another kitchen gadget. An automatic bread maker, rice cooker and juicer are but a few tools you can buy to help make the perfect meal. Any inventor can find a problem to solve. A special pan on sale next Christmas might can have the rights bells and perfect whistle to create the next food empire. And what's more, there's a free app that is sure to be a godsend.
Unfortunately, this smart technology has its weaknesses. How can you know which food processor to order? Will it integrate with the rest of the home automation? Can you trust the reviews you read? Will that Christmas gift be a rerun for Aunt Sally? Can you keep a balanced budget when you can order anything with the push of a button (or two or three)?
In contrast, the wise kitchen is not a Lamborghini helping you win the race for perfect nutrition. It doesn't fret about the most up-to-date research on how many eggs to eat nor the type of cooking oil that prevents diabetes. If you need to watch your diet so closely, there are plenty of smart apps to choose from.
The users of wise kitchen never abdicate their autonomy. Rather, they are enabled to aspire to meaningful goals. What habits are good for my long-term health? How do we keep the in-laws from criticizing the menu? How can the kids get good grades and have fun after school? How can I meet my perfect match?
Smart technology has its place. But without wisdom, it creates a life that is sterile and unfulfilling. Mom will order out pizza when the in-laws arrive. The kids will get a package of crackers and cheese for lunch. The romantic dinner will only need four minutes in the microwave to make the most romantic impression possible in the age of George Jetson.
A wise kitchen won't solve these problems, but it won't become its own problem either.