Ikea reveals its refrigerator-free vision for the kitchen of 2025
Ikea's kitchen of the future features a smart table that can detect ingredients and suggest recipes.
Published Tuesday, May 12, 2015 6:30AM EDT
Ikea thinks your next kitchen could be as smart as your phone.
The Swedish furniture giant teamed up with university students to design the Internet-connected kitchen of the future.
The kitchen features modular grey cabinets and shelving, while the central table top appears to be made of a large slab of birch-coloured wood sitting atop steel legs.
In this kitchen of the future, the countertop comes to life as you cook, displaying text and images on the workspace.
The tabletop automatically senses what you place on it with the use of special a camera.
A digital projector, a simplified version of what’s used to display movies in high-end homes or at the theatres, then illuminates the table with images and text.
Meanwhile, heating elements are hidden underneath the seamless surface.
Big screen cooking
Not sure what to make for dinner? The table can suggest recipes depending on which ingredients you lay out.
For example: If you place a tomato, a head of broccoli and a container of pasta on the table, the projector will display a recipe you can make, along with its nutritional information.
Once the ingredients are prepped, adjust a virtual dial to turn up the heat in a specific spot on the table.
Then, place a pot where the projector illustrates a range. Conductive heating will bring the pasta to a boil, and soon you’ll have a meal ready to eat.
Amazon’s delivery drones may sound bizarre, but the Swedes think they’re the future of grocery delivery.
In the prototype kitchen, Ikea predicts we’ll live in a world where food arrives almost instantly from vehicles such as drones.
This has the potential to reduce trips to the grocery store, and the need to stock up on non-perishable items.
So, scrap the refrigerator and cupboards. Instead, smart pantry containers will cool individual ingredients.
“While existing fridges waste energy and hide our food, this modern pantry makes food visible, keeping us mindful and inspired by the food we’ve got around us – so we’ll waste less of it,” Ikea says on its Concept Kitchen website.
Make your kitchen smart, now
If you want to turn your kitchen into a connected hub today, without waiting for the countertop of tomorrow, there are some appliances that get the job done.
Dacor has a US$4,999 oven with an Android control system. It suggests recipes and can pre-heat your oven while you drive home from work.
Likewise, it can shut the gas if you’ve rushed off to pick up the kids from soccer practice and forgot to turn it off.
On a more affordable scale, this Internet-connected CrockPot can be controlled from your smartphone.
The WeMo-enabled appliance can adjust the cooking time and temperature based on your schedule.
Unless you’re lucky enough to visit this concept kitchen on display in Milan, you might never see this exact model in an Ikea catalogue.
Aspects will likely be worked into the product lineup over time.
In a statement, Ikea’s kitchen and dining range manager says the concept kitchen is “a tangible communication of what the behaviours of the future will be.”