Posted on September 15th, 2010 at 6:53 AM by Wan
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Last fortnight, I chose to observe my friend’s very modern kitchen, equipped with the newest high tech devices. The types of devices that existed in the kitchen included: an intelligent oven by TMIO (see Figure 1), an LCD TV kitchen system and Action Fresh Blue Technology.

TMIO is an acronym for Tonight’s Menu Intelligent Oven. My initial reaction to the newly, remodeled kitchen was that it did not look like a kitchen at all but more like an open entertainment space. Instead of a table, it consisted of a black countertop, bar stools and an overall sleek and modern design. To clarify, the TMIO intelligent oven doubles as a refrigerator and oven and can be controlled by cell phone or the internet. Regardless of where you are, you can login or call the devices call center and control when you want to start cooking your food, at what temperature, method and many more. If you decide to stop cooking the food, the oven can convert back to refrigerator mode so there is no waste. The LCD TV kitchen system by Phillips was equipped with an iPod and television monitor, all connected to the internet via a wireless connection. Lastly, the Action Fresh Blue Technology consisted of a fruit bowl with a blue light around it to ensure freshness and keep out bacteria.

Figure 1: TMIO – An Intelligent Oven


(TMIO n.d.)

The most important aspect of this observation came in the form of comparison. I was very interested in observing how vastly different the modern kitchen was in contrast to kitchens that were as little as ten years old. When people think about technology, they automatically think computers and the internet. By choosing the kitchen, I wanted to observe how technology could impact the most basic and everyday actions. I wanted to stay away from observing someone in a context where technology was expected, that is a home office and in a context where it was more unexpected. Many people do not realize that technology impacts every aspect of our lives in the office and outside the office too.

In the past, there was a clear separation between the technical and non-technical. The kitchen was a workspace that was limited housewives rather than the tech savvy. With the increase in reality television cooking shows and the constant desire to save time and money, trendy kitchens have become a big business. I was most interested in observing if trendy or modern kitchens were just for show or if they were actually revolutionary. I felt that this would make for a very interesting observation, since the owner of the kitchen is a male thus not traditionally expected to invest so much time and money into an area of the house such as the kitchen. Based on gender roles enforced by previous generations, males were expected to invest more money in areas such as satellite TVs and video games rather than kitchens.

The process of undertaking the observation was quite simple. Basically, I sat on a kitchen stool, while my friend undertook the process of cooking a simple dinner for me and a group of friends. The task was not very difficult. I enjoyed some beverages as my friend cooked the meal and explained how each device made the process easier. At the beginning of the observation, I thought it would be a long and tedious process but by the end, I no longer felt that the kitchen was a place to be avoided.

The first unique aspect of this observation started before we even got to my friend’s home. In fact, it started in the car when we were driving to my friend’s home to prepare the dinner. My friend asked us (a total of four friends were invited over for dinner) what time we wanted to eat, so he would know when to start the cooking process. I was confused by this since we were in the car and automatically assumed that he would start cooking whatever time we got home. He explained that he had prepared lasagna last night but it was in the refrigerator and needed to be baked. Again, confused, I wondered why he was asking us this in the car. That is when I discovered that my friend had an intelligent oven by TMIO. The oven was both a refrigerator and an oven that could be controlled remotely. My friend explained that you just needed to leave the food inside the oven in refrigerator mode and then could start the cooking process from anywhere and at anytime. The oven has a call center which can be accessed by cell or via the internet and commanded to start cooking, stop cooking, etc. I was very impressed. We stopped at a store to pick up dessert and by the time we got to my friend’s home, the kitchen already smelt of lasagna.

It was the first time I had been to my friend’s home since he had renovated it and was very surprised that it looked almost space aged. The oven/refrigerator was a sleek while taking up minimal space. Instead of harsh, traditional kitchen lighting, my friend had soft lighting installed in the area. Instead of running around like most people do when they have dinner guests, my friend turned on the LCD TV kitchen that was installed above one cabinet and turned on his iPod that was docked to it. There was no stress, no rushing, I felt as if my friend was in a living room rather than a kitchen. I was surprised to note that even though there was a vast quantity of fruit on the kitchen counter, there was not a single fruit fly in sight. Not one. Intrigued, I asked my friend why there was a blue light around his fruit bowl. He explained that it was Action Fresh Blue Technology and it helped keep the fruit fresh and bacteria away from the food hence increasing its shelf life.

One thing that stuck out was the fact that my friend was actually enjoying our company, listening to music with us in the kitchen instead of constantly checking the oven to see if the lasagna was burning. He informed me the oven had settings for all types of food and it would be next to impossible to burn anything in the oven. The layout of the kitchen was arranged in a manner that it did not feel like it was purely for cooking purposes but felt more like an environment in which to socialize such as a bar. It was apparent that the type of technology my friend was utilizing in the kitchen was making his life easier but also enhancing its quality. When most people think about dinner parties and guests, they automatically think stress. The guests are waiting in the living room or dining room while the anxious hosts are finding a way to cover up or replace burnt pot-roast. In this case, there was no separation between the guests and the host. There was no need for a dining room because the kitchen was the dining room. It was a place to relax as well as cook. Cooking was not a chore but something fun and enjoyable. When dinner was served, it was effortless and casual. There was no fear of burnt lasagna or undercooked lasagna. Music was played, dinner was served and the night sailed on smoothly.

References:

Girard, K. 2008. TMIO, maker of the intelligent oven, is MIA. http://www.cnet.com/8301-13553_1-9957516-32.html (accessed September 7, 2010).

TMIO. n.d. http://www.tmio.com/ (accessed September 7, 2010).

2 Responses to “ EXPERIENCES IN THE MODERN KITCHEN ”

  • Amiel says:

    It seemed like you went into the future to visit your friend and the car was your time machine! haha.. Interesting experience. The renovation must have been a fortune, no? What made him endeavor in such technology anyways? As you mentioned earlier, males in majority invest more in satellite TVs and games which are basically categorized as entertainment systems. What exactly was the reason for such shift? Could it be because conventional technologies are becoming more high-tech that it incorporates a form of \entertainment\? Also, by implementing such technology doesn’t that raise certain issues such as, the security and reliability of the technology? Not to forget the extra costs of maintaining it.

    • Wan says:

      You bet Amiel!

      I didn’t dare to ask him how much it cost because I know it costs a fortune for him. But, what the heck if he has the money to burn! Perhaps, being want to be an early adopters in Technology has endeavor him to be obsessed with those kind of technology. I have had bad experience being an early adopters in getting new technologies. Time will soon tell with regards to maintaining his modern kitchen!

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