Set and forget

Author: Patrick Avenell

Taking kitchens into the future with "smart" appliances.

Turning the oven on may soon be a thing of the past, or at least using your hands to do it, at any rate. Manufacturers of kitchen equipment, particularly those from Europe, are looking to change the way we cook by introducing an increasing array of "smart" appliances. The idea is to make the machines smarter so they're easier for us to use. Knobs and dials are disappearing from ovens and being replaced by touchscreens that guide home-cooks step by step through cooking programs.

Miele's new Generation H6000 - the brand's first cooking-appliance refresh in five years - has no control knobs at all on its top models. Whether you're roasting, steaming, microwaving, making a coffee or setting the eye-catching digital-analog clock, all input is through the touchscreen. And the colour choices are almost as impressive as what's under the hood: it comes in stainless steel, black, white and chocolate brown.

Smeg's new smart range offers a responsive artificial intelligence system via a full-colour touchscreen that, among other things, controls the oven's preheating, cooking and cleaning once you've told it what's being cooked. They call the system S Logic.

Swedish brand Asko has the new iChef range, which is also operated via a colour high-resolution touchscreen that closely resembles a smartphone or tablet. The iChef has three pyrolytic cleaning options to conserve energy and five baking functions allowing for different levels of user control.

In Germany Bosch recently launched the myBosch mobile app, which handles warranty enquiries and diagnoses simple operating issues. It'll hopefully hit Australia soon.

The next phase of "smart" appliances was also previewed in Berlin in September, where Panasonic demonstrated its new Cloud technology, which is controlled via voice and gesture control. With this technology you can ask an oven to open its door and to start cooking and cleaning, or swipe your hands across it to change the temperature mid-program. It's not available yet, but it's a sign of the technology that's sure to come. German brand Siemens has a name for this merging of complex programs with simple touch control: "Simplexity".

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