It's true. We're obsessed with shortcuts, innovations, and gadgets that make your time in the kitchen more efficient, creative, and interactive. Lately we've been seeing so many Jetsons-esque home appliances come to life that we got to thinking. What will our future kitchens look like? Will it be completely automated? Will it interact more with the natural world? Will we eat everything in pill form? Here are 12 appliances that you might see in your future home, including a few that you might be able to snag in the next few months.
1. Mobile Induction Heat Plate: As time marches on, our definition of how we use different spaces at home is ever-changing. The kitchen, for example, is often more of a gathering space than a cooking space, and most people like to cook outside any chance they can get. This mobile induction plate is totally portable and can cook whatever you need, wherever you want. You control it via an app on your smartphone, and it even has a handy handle for carrying anywhere. This is also great if you want to keep soup hot on the dinner table.
2. Ribbon Portable Heater & Cooler: Need to keep something hot or cold, but also want to keep it in the container it was made in? You'll love the Ribbon. The unique shape and flexibility mean you can heat or cool just about anything, and it's extremely portable. The black side provides heat while the white cools, and you can even fold it out to use as a hot plate.
3. Milkmaid: The question of whether or not your milk has turned is a timeless one. You smell the carton, and then you realize you don't know what "good" milk actually smells like anyway. The Milkmaid, currently in production over at Quirky, takes all the guesswork out by letting you know as soon as you open the fridge.
4. Natural Dish Washer: Designed by Antoine Lebrun for European appliance company Fagor Brandt, the natural dish washer uses specialized plants to filter and clean your dirty dishes. To cook, lift up the plant top and revel in the noiseless air filter the plants provide. When it's time to clean up, simply place the dirty dishes in the sink, close the hood, and let the clean cycle begin. We don't totally get how this works, but we like the concept of using natural plant properties to keep the home clean.
5. Salty Spoon: This handy spoon is ideal for folks who need to watch their salt intake. Dip it any soup, stew or sauce and the spoon will let you know the percentage of salinity in your food. The Salinity Monitor Spoon is currently available for $57 a pop, but we're more excited about what this means for more informed eating. Imagine if you could dip a spoon in any type of food and get nutrition facts. Kind of crazy, and not one to take to your favorite restaurant, but also pretty cool.
6. Self-Stirring Sauce Pan: A watched pot never boils but you've gotta watch the pot to keep it cooking evenly. This self-stirring sauce pan concept features diagonal grooves on the inside causing a vortex convection when liquid is eater. Contents are less likely to boil over, and stir themselves. Click here to check out a colorful video of the pan in action.
7. Auto Stirring Microwave Bowl: Speaking of stirring things up, how annoying is the cold spot in a bowl of just about anything you microwave? The AutoStir attaches to the top of your microwave and stirs whatever you're heating up.
8. 3D Food Printer: We wrote about this a few months ago as part of our Health & Fitness Innovations from the Future article, and here we are again. This Digital Fabricator Concept is a machine that prints 3D meals, and can even customized based on the user's specific nutritional needs.
9. Dish Rack that Waters Plants: Isn't it time your dish rack gave back? With the Fluidity Dish Rack by Milan design studio Design Libero, the water from your drying dishes flows directly into planters on either side of the rack. This is great move for herbs you use in the kitchen, or for succulents if you're not much a dish-doer.
10. Nano Garden: The kitchen concept that inspired this whole article, the Nano Garden is a fully functional vegetable garden for your kitchen. The concept takes tiered metal shelving, climate controlled panels, purposefully-directed lumens, and an attachment to a water source to make your indoor vegetable crop dreams a potential reality. Because light, water and nutrient supply is totally controllable, it's up to you how quickly you want your veggies to grow. It will alert you if you're overwatering, over-sunning, or if your plants need more nutrients. It even works to naturally purify the air in your home.
11. AGA iTotal Control: Though this is currently available in the UK, we're still categorizing this as a future kitchen gadget, as the $12K price is rather steep. The iTotal Control lets you control your stove and oven through your computer, smartphone, tablet or regular phone via text message, making sure dinner is always ready when you get home.
12. Multi-Touch Kitchen: And finally, the multi-touch kitchen. An entire kitchen system based on touchscreen technology. The cooktop includes a surface for looking up recipes and nutritional information, a built-in scale, and an easy way to turn recipes into grocery lists that sync to your phone via bluetooth. It's futuristic and robotic, but it also requires human contact. We're in love.
What type of appliances would make your future kitchen complete? Should we invent an easy bake oven specifically for cake pops? Any recent innovations like the Zoku Quick Pop Maker or Magic Bullet you can't imagine living without? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or say hi on Twitter.