From Dean Dowd on June 09, 2009 in Kitchen Remodel
The future: a landscape lined with plug-in cars, bullet trains, and a menagerie of preserved landscape and visible urban renewal. These are the hopes of a growing number of future-conscious citizens, striving to stem the tide of fossil fuel power, urban heat islands, and unsustainable building practices. At the same time, we enjoy our luxury and convenience ever more important factors in the future of increasingly busy families. The undisputed epicenter of modern homes, now and in the future, is the kitchen. The technological and digital age in which we now flourish has spawned a revolution of luxurious, efficient, and utterly convenient technology; a movement just now getting off its feet. With modern technology advancing so fast it is nigh impossible to imagine the true scope of the ultimate futuristic kitchen. You can bet it will be intelligent and automatic, energetic yet efficient, sleek and supremely modern. Fortunately for we denizens of design and creatures of comfort, there are plenty of futuristic products already in existence, with many others conceived and baking in the oven. Detailed below are many of the fixtures and amenities that will come to characterize the kitchen of the future.
Ovens of the future will be smarter and more energy efficient. Already products, such as TMIO’s Intelligent Oven, are out that can be remote controlled from a cell phone, PDA, or the Internet. The Intelligent Oven also has an LCD control screen with graphics and NASA-based controls, as well as formaldehyde-free ceramic insulation. The Inspiro from Electrolux actually scans the food and uses its database of professional cooking techniques to calculate the best and most efficient way to cook your food. It is like having a personal chef inside your oven.
Digital Refrigerators are already penetrating today’s appliance market. LG’s latest side-by-side version is on the cutting edge, with features such as a remote-controlled, cable-ready HDTV and FM radio, plus a DVD player on top of the unit. Add to that a four-inch LCD display that acts as a Weather and Info Center located just above the digitally-controlled ice and water dispenser.
The futuristic kitchen island will be an all-in-one kitchen of its own and will revolutionize how we manage small spaces in the kitchen. Think of a modular kitchen design with a sleek island countertop that opens to reveal a cooktop, prep sink, and ready-to-use pots and pans, plus sides that hold hidden compartments for kitchen storage, dishwashers, and even ovens. These modern designs will come complete with heated countertops for keeping food warm and staving off cold surfaces in winter.
Futuristic sinks and faucets will be even more sleek and energy efficient. Existent features such as mixed-flow faucets and LED faucets that light up water streams red (hot) or blue (cold) based on temperature. Faucets of the future will be remote controlled with built-in ionizers and touch-screen controls. Sinks will be even more seamless in the futuristic kitchen, and easier to install. Blanco’s latest creation offers the ease of an above-mount stainless steel sink with all the appearance of a flush-mount design. Futuristic sinks will continue to work seamlessly into countertops as well.
Kitchen—the heart of the futuristic home, and a heart growing faster than the Grinch’s on Christmas Day. The futuristic kitchen will have more to offer than smart appliances; it will be a mecca for both cooking and entertainment. Computers, DVD players, stereos, iPods, video phones; all of these will be built in standard, whether it be a paper-thin OLED TV mounted on a cabinet face or products such as Whirlpool’s versatile CentralPark refrigerator.
Today’s science fiction will be tomorrow’s kitchen amenity. Yes kitchen robots are already in existence. The Food Robot stands five feet tall with a computer for legs. You enter cooking directions on a screen built into the robot’s chest and the Food Robot gets to work preparing food in the pot cleverly designed as an induction cooker. You might call it the Robo-Pot Belly Stove—precursor to the Jetson’s famed Robo-Maid Rosie?
Floors and Countertops
Radiant Floors and Countertops. The futuristic kitchen, as are some of today’s more efficient homes, will have heating built directly into the thermal structure of the home. Yet today’s radiant floor heating technology will progress into radiant countertops (as mentioned above). These are already possible with a little work and improvisation from your contractor, but look for built-in, modular designs in the future.
Smart windows, such as those found on this Active House, will be computer controlled to open in case of excessive heat or smoke to draw air out of the kitchen and even to regulate the temperature of the home in order to save on heating and cooling costs. And smart windows are just the future of an already-accelerating movement toward passive solar energy in the kitchen. We may even see solar cookers built into garden windows—solar crock pot of the future?
Thinking Cap? Motorized, telescopic range hoods, such as this model from Miele, will play a big role in the highly-motorized kitchen of the future. The modern ventilation hood will be adjustable to fit the needs of the cook and what’s cooking.
Cooktops of the future will be digital, smart, flush, and efficient. Look for magnetic induction cooktops to grow continually in popularity. They are faster, safer, more energy efficient and smarter than conventional electric or gas ranges. Futuristic models are digitally controlled, able to detect water boiling over, turn off the burner automatically when a pot or pan is removed, and the glass surface remains cool to the touch. Combination induction cooktop and oven models are also available now—these are just the start.
The kitchen of the future will no doubt be powered by some form of clean energy. Look for energy production to be built into to every aspect of the home, from geothermal heat pumps to solar hot water to solar electric power streaming in from all directions (Think solar windows, solar paint and beyond).