Would you like to cook something without having to pay any attention to the temperature levels or cook time, or pay attention in general? A concept design that is set to hit the market sometime this year claims to use smart sensor technology to know when your food is about to burn and can reduce wasted energy used by the stovetop by as much as 40%.
Called IQcook, the design by Gorenje uses an induction hob on the cookware lid to sense what's going down during the cooking process. If your pot is about to boil over, the cookware senses it and adjusts the temperature. Essentially, you don't need to watch the pot anymore.
"Gorenje’s new incredibly intelligent and highly sensitive IQ Sensors automatically adjust the operation of the hob and eliminate the need for continuous manual control of the progress of cooking so users can maximise their time while their meals cook. Nor need to worry when something unexpected happens – the phone rings, the kids need something, or that urgent chore that needs doing: nothing will burn or boil over ever again. But the new technology not only saves precious time by optimising the cooking temperature but it also saves energy. The IQcook cooking hob can even save up to 40% in energy consumption compared to conventional induction technology hobs."
A 40% reduction in energy consumption thanks to forgetting about what you're cooking isn't bad, in fact it is very intriguing. And that's not to mention reducing the occasional food and water waste. I have to admit I've been guilty of putting water on to boil and forgetting about it until there is just an empty pot sitting on an open flame. Still, I'm not sure we want to allow ourselves to be so absentminded all the time that we require a new high-tech solution. For those that disagree, the technology is said to be perfect for boiling, steaming and slow cooking... and even frying, keeping the oil at the ideal temperature.
Here's a long (and boring) video showing off how the technology lets you put a pot on to cook and get distracted with a phone call or leave the home altogether, and somehow not have the food melted to the bottom of the pot when you remember you have something on the stove:
The iQcook sensor attachment for the lids of pots and pans is set to come out later this year. How it will be received is anyone's guess. As Gizmodo points out:
The product is set for release later this year, but its premise raises some questions. Because it's an induction cooktop, all the pots and pans must be magnetic to work, period. Yet the press materials show the sensor being attached to a glass lid. It seems the sensor could just stick on the side of the ferromagnetic pot, but that approach is not mentioned. The second major question is whether the sensor can only be applied when food is prepared under a lidded skillet.
Induction has had a hard time taking off in the US. Gas ranges are the norm in high-end kitchens nationwide, and even homeowners willing to shell out money for a kitchen renovation rarely choose to add the electrical work required to convert to induction. Then there's the cookware upgrade—a serious home cook with $1,000 invested in pots and pans (which don't happen to be ferromagnetic) is unlikely to start all over with gear for a new stove. Right?
Even with innovations like the Gorenje, devices like this induction hot plate may be the technology's best chance of adoption in the US. Plug it in, try it out, and don't toss out your whole gas range in the process.