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.

Valve’s ‘Knuckles’ controller brings individual finger control to VR

With a prototype first revealed at the company’s Steam Dev Days conference last October, Valve’s new ‘Knuckles’ controller is now being shipped to developers as a prototype, while a blog post unveils a few more of the specs.

What’s important about the new controller is that it on only utilises an ‘open hand’ design that will mean you don’t have to spend your entire time gripping the controller like a weapon, but  it also features basic tracking for individual fingers.

The device is similar to the current HTC Vive motion controller, positioning in 3D space via Steam’s Lighthouse tracking system, but looks to build to the next stage of what can be done with motion control in VR. Specifically, Valve is looking to bring a much greater presence of your virtual hand into the market.

Moreover, they’re looking to make that virtual hand feel far more natural. With the controller able to grip onto your hand – think somewhat similar to securing your Wiimotes to your wrist – you’ll be able to operate in the virtual space with an open hand. While it may seem a small thing, it brings a whole new realism to any kind of grabbing or catching motion.

In addition, the ability of the Knuckles to track the movement of individual fingers could prove a real game-changer to virtual reality experiences.  Using a number of capacitive sensors to detect the state of your hands when your finger is on a button, or particular part of a controller, the controller will, according to the dev post, “return a curl value between zero and one, where zero indicates that the finger is pointing straight out and one indicates that the finger is fully curled around the controller”.

In essence, this means that the controller will be able to sense fine gradations of movement in each of your fingers, rather than relying on a binary “open” or “closed” status. Beyond lending a more organic feel to the use of your virtual hand, this will also allow users to make use of a range of hand gestures currently unavailable with VR controllers. A screenshot from a new version of SteamVR Home displays the possibilities with a Knuckles user’s avatar throwing up devil horns.

Images courtesy of Valve

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a perfect tracking system. While farther along than, for example, the Oculus Touch controllers, which allow you to slightly open your fingers while tracking the three non-index fingers together via an analog trigger, the Knuckles aren’t exactly ‘full’ finger tracking. Ideally, controllers will reach the point of knowing where your fingers are at all times with pinpoint precision. Until then however, the Knuckles are no small step forward.

The current Knuckles controller dev kit reportedly has a battery life of three hours and requires an hour of USB Micro charging to fill up (if accurate, these numbers put it roughly in the same realm as Vive controllers in regards to battery). We’ll have to wait on confirmation of this and other details,

Elon Musk speaks to LA's mayor about his Boring Company

Elon Musk said this week that he has held “promising conversations” with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, regarding the potential of bringing his recently formed Boring Company to the city. One of the ideas reportedly under consideration would see an express line to LAX airport from LA’s Union Station being built.

Source: Tech Crunch

Atari is back with a new console

Last week, Atari began teasing a new product called the Ataribox. Now, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat Atari CEO Fred Chesnais has confirmed that the pioneering video game company is working on a new game console. “We’re back in the hardware business,” said Chesnais.

Source: Venture Beat

Nasa find 10 planets that could potentially host life

Nasa has added a further 219 candidates to the list of planets beyond our solar system, 10 of which may be about the same size and temperature as Earth, and may host life. Scientists found the candidates in a final batch of Nasa’s Kepler Space Telescope observations of 200,000 sample stars in the constellation Cygnus.

Source: The Guardian

Tesla Model S told driver to put his hands on the wheel before fatal crash

Federal regulators said on Monday, the driver of a Tesla Model S, who was killed in a collision while the car was in autopilot mode, did not have his hands on the steering wheel for a prolonged period of time despite being repeatedly warned by the vehicle that having his hands on the wheel was necessary.

Source: Ars Technica

Uber founder Travis Kalanick resigns

Having last week said that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence, Uber boss Travis Kalanick resigned as chief executive of the company this week after pressure from shareholders. His resignation comes after a review of practices at the firm and scandals including complaints of sexual harassment.

Source: BBC

Facebook defends against injunction to remove Oculus Rift from sale

Facebook and Oculus want a federal judge to let them continue selling Rifts despite a jury deciding Oculus stole another company’s computer code. Lawyers for Facebook said halting the sale of Oculus Rifts “would serve no one but ZeniMax, who would use it only as leverage to try to extract money from Oculus”.

Source: Bloomberg