I recently came across an article (published last spring) on IKEA’s “Concept Kitchen 2025”, a collaboration between IKEA, IDEO and some university student designers. It’s all a bit Jetsons, but quite interesting, that’s for sure.
The centerpiece of the Concept Kitchen is, as it should be, the kitchen table. But the Table For Living isn’t just any old table.
“It packs a camera-equipped projector that both shows recipes on its surface and recognizes ingredients, giving you an idea of what to make with what you have on hand. There’s an induction cooktop hidden in the table, too, so you wouldn’t have to run between counters to get that hot stew ready.” (Source: Engadget)
Before picking out a recipe for you based on the tomato you have sitting around, the system will also factor in how long you have to devote to cooking. So I guess if you only have a couple of minutes, you’ll be advised to eat the tomato as-is, with a saltshaker to sprinkle on to taste. And if you have longer – and you’ve got pasta and cheese on your shelves – it might send you a recipe for a simple spaghetti dish.
I was going to say that the cheese would be in your fridge, but in the Concept Kitchen, fridges may be a thing of the past. Instead, food will be stored in smart containers. It will come in a package with an RFID sticker on it. You place the food in the smart container, slap the RFID sticker on the outside, and place it on a smart shelf (equipped with sensors). “The shelves will simply ‘read’ the sticker’s RFID storage instructions and adjust the temperature accordingly.” (Source: ConceptKitchen2025)
The kitchen also features a composter and a non-organic waste system that will figure out your waste materials, crushing it, vacuum packing it, and sealing it in a bio-polymer tube. No more big blue recycle boxes on the curb! Then there’s the sink that includes the ability to reuse relatively clean “grey water”, while sending “badly contaminated black water” to a treatment facility. (I’m having a hard time coming up with something in your kitchen that might result in “badly contaminated black water.” That’s got to be some pretty lousy cooking…)
Wish I’d found more technical details on the camera set up, etc. But even without getting into the nitty-gritty, it’s very interesting to read about possible future usage of sensor, camera, RFID and other technologies. Who knows, maybe when they start to implement Concept Kitchen 2025, they’ll ask Critical Link for some help.