Internet of Things (IoT) and the Kitchen of the Future strike such pioneering chords that oftentimes it feels like these concepts are happening in a galaxy far, far away. But they’re not – that galaxy is here and now, and glimpses of what’s possible can be seen at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES)! CES has been going for more than 50 years and since then, thousands of products have been announced at the yearly show, including a slew of innovations that have transformed our lives – from the mouse in 1968, and the VCR in 1970 to the DVD in 1996 and the 3D printer in 2014.
CES 2021 was no different, and when it comes to ground-breaking kitchen and food-smart tech, innovation knows no bounds – here are five of our favourites:
1. Open your fridge door using voice commands
The latest model of the LG InstaView Refrigerator now features doors that open with voice commands for hands-free convenience – quite handy when you’ve just taken a big delivery from N1, your favourite Cape Town meat wholesalers, and need to repack your fridge! You can even ask the fridge for updates on today's agenda or check the status of the ice and water dispensers. It also boasts a larger glass panel on its InstaView door, which lets you knock twice to see what's inside without letting cold air out.
2. A robot that can pour wine
Probably the most futuristic kitchen tech at CES 2021 was Samsung's Bot Handy – a smart robot designed to do tasks like load the dishwasher and pour a glass of wine. While still a way off from being a reality in consumer kitchens, the bot can measure the weight, size and material of a household item in order to handle them without inflicting damage.
3. World's first tabletop chocolate maker
How delectable is this! The CocoTerra chocolate maker produces ready-to-eat dark, milk or white chocolate pieces – ground, refined, tempered and moulded from scratch – in just two hours. Using smart engineering, the appliance takes the otherwise complicated and temperature-dependant process of chocolate making and turns it into something anyone can do.
4. Ice cream in 60 seconds
ColdSnap debuted an almost-instant ice cream maker in a countertop appliance. The ColdSnap by Sigma Phase produces ready-to-eat ice cream, frozen drinks and smoothies in just 60 to 90 seconds, using recyclable aluminium pods that are flash-frozen and dispensed as soft serve.
5. A solar-powered portable coffee maker
And finally, for all the coffeeholics among us who despair during loadshedding: GoSun has designed a nifty solar-powered coffee brewer, the GoSun Brew – the coffee maker features a 12-volt heater and built-in French press so even when you’re off the grid you can still enjoy freshly-brewed coffee!