The kitchen of the future will be hyper-connected, sustainable and multi-functional

The kitchen of the future will be a connected, multi-functional space that is radically different to the separate room of old, according a report released by the Silestone Institute.

Entitled ‘Global Kitchen: the home kitchen in the era of globalisation’, the report draws on knowledge from 17 distinguished experts from the worlds of design, cooking, domestic technology, sociology, nutrition and sustainability, as well as surveying over 800 kitchen studios across the world, to provide a view of what the kitchen of the future is likely to look like.

“Global Kitchen is an international project providing valuable insights into the kitchen of the future and aims to become an essential reference tool for professionals and consumers,” explained Santiago Alfonso, marketing vice president for the Cosentino Group, which the Silestone Institute is part of. “It creates the opportunity for multidisciplinary reflection to analyse the effect of globalisation on kitchen architecture and design, to determine how this space will develop over the next 25 years.”

Among the items the report predicts will be in the kitchens of the future are hydroponic crops to provide food with the shortest possible distance from ‘farm’ to plate; 3D food printers that would allow users to download and ‘print’ recipes; adjustable-height worktops embedded with digital surfaces and smart fridges complete with the ever-predicted smart screens.

The kitchen of the future as envisioned in the report: click to view full-size

Perhaps one of the primary insights drawn from the report is the changing role that the kitchen will play in the home. Rather than being an independent space used almost solely for cooking, it is expected that the kitchen will develop into a multi-functional space in all countries.

The kitchen as an independent room is predicted to disappear and considerations of emotional value will begin to be incorporated into the design as it further develops as a space for relaxing. Of the 842 kitchen professionals surveyed, 87% said that the kitchen would become more relevant as an activity and meeting place in the house.

Enabling this shifting role will largely rely on the development of the kitchen as a ‘smart’ room; hyper-connected and technologically advanced. In order to cement its new position as the centre of the home, the kitchen will begin to take connectivity and smart appliances into account with “mobile and wearable devices, and will not only make shopping and laundry easier, but ensure endless access to information from the Internet of Things.”

Smart appliances are likely to also make their presence felt, with worktops able to cook, make calls, broadcast TV and provide access to the Internet. And in case you wanted to cut down on the amount of shelf space being taken up by cooking books, these smart worktops may contain databases of recipes where chefs can guide you through the process.

Hydroponic plants, smart fridges, 3D food printers and digital worktops are among the technologies predicted to be common in the kitchens of the future. Images courtesy of Consento Group

Appliances are also likely to become more environmentally friendly, coming to rely on sustainable energy. According to the report, they are likely to be solar powered and will “be aligned with ‘Multi- R’ thinking – Rethink, Redesign, Repair, Reuse, Remanufacture, Recover.”

And speaking of light, Silestone predicts that your kitchen will be illuminated by smart lighting that varies according to the time of day, mood or even (somehow) the type of food being cooked.

Largely, the report is perhaps not all that surprising in its findings. Kitchens, and the appliances within them, have been getting smarter for a while so the next stages raised in the report seem like logical steps. It is maybe more relevant to consider the changing role of the kitchen in the home, and what this could mean for homes more broadly.

Google’s Alphabet is Developing the Neighbourhood of the Future in Toronto

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has announced that Sidewalk Labs, its urban innovation unit, will design a high-tech neighbourhood on Toronto’s waterfront. The neighbourhood, called Quayside, will prioritise, “environmental sustainability, affordability, mobility and economic opportunity”.

The initial phase for the development, part of the broader Sidewalk Toronto project, has received a $50m commitment from Sidewalk, but is predicted to cost at least a billion dollars by the time it’s fully completion.

As part of the broader project, Quayside seems to be the first attempt at creating what Sidewalk refers to as a “new kind of mixed-use, complete community”, an attempt the company presumably hopes to eventually expand across the waterfront and ultimately into other cities.

“This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world,” Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff said on Tuesday.

Early concept images for the neighbourhood include self-driving cars and other infrastructure technologies. Images courtesy of Sidewalk Toronto

Located in the primarily publicly-owned 800-acre area called Port Lands, Quayside looks to be the test bed for potential future community design. With the planning process for the development starting with a community town hall on the 1st of November, we are still some ways off from knowing just what the neighbourhood will look like, but early illustrations include bikeshares, apartment housing, bus lines and parks.

More importantly, however, is Doctoroff’s previous discussions of what he believes future city design will look like. Technology focused, there’s been mention of sensors that track energy usage, machine learning and using high-speed internet to improve urban environments.

Specifically, at a summit hosted by The Information last year, he mentioned “thinking about [a city] from the internet up”. As would be expected from a company under the same parent as Google, Sidewalk seems to be concentrated on development that prioritises innovation and building communities with an eye to how technology can help found neighbourhoods.

“I like to describe it that we’re in the very early stages of what I call the fourth revolution of urban technology,” Doctoroff previously told Business Insider.

“The first three were the steam engine, which brought through trains and factories that industrialized cities. The second was the electric grid, which made cities 24 hours, made them more vertical, made them easier to get around in with subways and streetcars.

“The third was the automobile, which forced us to really re-think the use of public space in order to protect people from the danger of the automobile. We’re now in the fourth one. We’ve had an urban technology revolution … We’re seeing a real change in the physical nature of our cities.”

DJI’s First Drone Arena in Tokyo to Open This Saturday

Consumer drone giant DJI will open its first Japanese drone arena in the city of Tokyo this Saturday, providing a space for both hardened professionals and curious newcomers to hone their flying skills.

The arena, which covers an area of 535 square metres, will not only include a large flying area complete with obstacles, but also offer a store where visitors can purchase the latest DJI drones and a technical support area where drone owners can get help with quadcopter issues.

The hope is that the arena will allow those who are curious about the technology but currently lack the space to try it out to get involved.

“As interest around our aerial technology continues to grow, the DJI Arena concept is a new way for us to engage not just hobbyists but also those considering this technology for their work or just for the thrill of flying,” said Moon Tae-Hyun, DJI’s director of brand management and operations.

“Having the opportunity to get behind the remote controller and trying out the technology first hand can enrich the customer experience. When people understand how it works or how easy it is to fly, they will discover what this technology can do for them and see a whole new world of possibilities.”

Images courtesy of DJI

In addition to its general sessions, which will allow members of the public to drop by and try their hand at flying drones, the arena will also offer private hire, including corporate events. For some companies, then, drone flying could become the new golf.

There will also be regular events, allowing pros to compete against one another, and drone training, in the form of DJI’s New Pilot Experience Program, for newcomers.

The arena has been launched in partnership with Japan Circuit, a developer of connected technologies, including drones.

“We are extremely excited to partner with DJI to launch the first DJI Arena in Japan,” said Tetsuhiro Sakai, CEO of Japan Circuit.

“Whether you are a skilled drone pilot or someone looking for their first drone, we welcome everyone to come and learn, experience it for themselves, and have fun. The new DJI Arena will not only serve as a gathering place for drone enthusiasts but also help us reach new customers and anyone interested in learning about this incredible technology.”

The arena is the second of its kind to be launched by DJI, with the first located in Yongin, South Korea, and detailed in the video above. .

Having opened in 2016, the area has attracted visitors from around the world, demonstrating serious demand for this type of entertainment space.

If the Tokyo launch goes well, it’s likely DJI will look at rolling out its arena concept to other cities, perhaps even bringing the model to the US and Europe.

For now, however, those who are interested can book time at the Tokyo arena here.