In the hustle and bustle of daily life it can be hard to make the most efficient use of the resources in your kitchen. It’s tempting give up on home cooking for the ease of the takeout menu. Manufacturers at CES 2017 offered some ideas for getting more organized in the kitchen. Only time and testing will tell if these products are time savers or just quirky conversation pieces, but for the right household they might be just the kitchen tech you have been looking for. These smaller products are proof that you do not necessarily have to buy smart appliances in order to have some of the benefits of a smart home.
By some estimates, Americans waste 31 percent (about 133 billion pounds) of available food supply in a year. That happens in many different ways, but it can sometimes be a simple matter of forgetting what is in your refrigerator until it is inedible. The FridgeCam was designed to make your refrigerator smarter by attaching to the inside door and allowing you a view of what you have at any given time. The camera and associated app will also help you track how long items have been in the refrigerator and when it might be time to buy more. They can even be set to send you reminders to buy certain items when you are near the appropriate store. Some of the latest refrigerator designs include similar features, but FridgeCam can be used to make your current appliance smarter.
GeniCan gives your trashcan responsibility for making your grocery shopping list. As you are throwing something in the trash or recycling, GeniCan scans the barcode and adds it to your grocery list. If you are tossing items without a barcode, you just hold the item close to the device and say the product's name. The associated app can even remind your kids of their chores in a language they understand – text message. It can be set up to text them when the garbage is full and needs to be emptied.
"We want people to shop smart. We want people to show up at the grocery store and always have their list with them," said co-founder David Pestka.
Your list can even get additions on the fly. For example, if you are at the store and someone drinks the last bit of milk at home, the barcode will be scanned on its way into the recycle bin and instantly added to the grocery list so you know to pick up the milk. GeniCan can also be paired with Amazon so that anytime you scan specified items, they will automatically be shipped to your home as soon as you run out.
HelloEgg looks like a larger version of an old-fashioned egg timer, but it has much more sophisticated capabilities. It can guide you through recipes, organize your shopping list and stream music. It's a lot like Amazon Alexa on your kitchen countertop, but cuter. It has a little eyeball that blinks, and it can respond to your commands. A hidden display makes it possible to see cooking demonstrations, albeit on a small scale. You can view a recipe being made on the egg's screen and also hear the directions aloud at the same time. It also does a few extra tasks like playing music and giving you weather reports.
The smart kitchen doesn’t have to rely only on larger investments in appliances. It can also start with smaller devices that can help you save time and money by learning your habits and helping you keep track of what you have. And some can even help you learn a few new recipes.