While CES has always been a place for TVs, smartphones, and other tech gadgets to shine, kitchen appliances also get their share of the spotlight. This is increasingly true as the lines between electronics and appliances blur, and the once simple products in your kitchen room continue to get smarter. After all, these days, it’s not hard to find a fridge that has the same capabilities as a high-end smartphone or tablet. Here are some of the advancements in smart kitchen appliances from CES 2021.
LG Instaview Range and Refrigerator
LG’s Instaview, which lets you get a peek at the inside of your fridge or range just by knocking on the glass door, is one of the brands’ most notable features in its appliance lineup. And while that feature itself isn’t’ new this year, the Instaview appliances are gaining some interesting tech.
The headlining feature on the new LG Instaview range is the inclusion of “Air Sous Vide” cooking function. For those not familiar with the hottest kitchen trend of the last decade, sous vide cookers use vacuum bags and a hot water bath to gently cook foods to the perfect temperature. Cooking with sous vide all but guarantees a steak will come out exactly as you want, without the risk of overcooking. LG’s Air Sous Vide utilizes similar vacuum bags, but replaces the water bath with precisely-controlled hot air. The function promises results similar to the typical countertop sous vide method.
LG’s new Instaview range also now includes an Air Fry Mode, an idea we’ve seen in other ranges already. A range with an air fryer built in is a great way to free up counter space in a crowded kitchen. An additional benefit of Air Sous Vide and Air Frying is that they both cook with less need for oils or other ingredients that add excess calories.
Upcoming models of LG’s Instaview fridges also received some clever upgrades. Who hasn’t walked to the fridge with full hands and struggled to open the door with a pinky finger? LG is solving that problem with voice commands. Simply ask your LG Instaview fridge to open up and the door will do just that. That function will also reduce the amount of times your fridge’s door handle gets touched every day, a change that LG hopes will reduce germ transfer. Sanitation is also the motivation behind the other new feature, a water filter with an integrated germ-killing UV light. This is great because even though your water is filtered, germs can be transferred from a dirty cup to the dispenser itself. The LG Instaview fridge takes care of that.
ColdSnap Frozen Treat Maker
Ice cream makers are not a new idea. In fact, the typical kitchen ice cream maker is a surprisingly low-tech device—throw some cream and sugar into a cold container and stir, and thirty minutes later you have ice cream. But that same simplicity means that DIY ice cream makers tend to be a one-trick pony. There’s not much you can do with them besides make ice cream.
The ColdSnap is a new smart appliance that offers the ability to make a wide variety of frozen treats quickly and with minimal work. Based around a Keurig-like pod system, the ColdSnap can make ice cream, frozen yogurt, smoothies, and even frozen margaritas in as little as 60 seconds. ColdSnap’s ice cream is extra smooth—the consistency of restaurant soft serve—which should please fans who find homemade ice cream too dense. The machine requires no special cleanup and the pods are shelf stable, so the ColdSnap is great for both ice cream lovers and those who want to enjoy a frozen treat only occasionally.
Weber Grills Announces Acquisition of June Smart Oven
Outdoor grills are another area product category that are increasingly combining a very low-tech notion with high-tech enhancements. We’ve seen this in products like the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub and the Weber Smokefire Series, the brand’s line of wood pellett-burning grills. Both products feature a smart assistant that gives you step-by-step grilling instructions and can send notifications to your smartphone, taking all of the guesswork out of grilling the perfect steak or burger. The technology in both of those products was the result of a partnership with a smart oven startup called June.
Well, it appears that Weber was fond of the partnership, and announced at CES 2021 that they had fully acquired the smart oven brand. June will still operate independently, but this addition to the Weber brand means we’ll probably begin seeing a lot more smart grilling technology integrated into their products.
Samsung SmartThings Cooking App
Samsung was one of the first brands to integrate smart features into its kitchen appliances. Its Family Hub smart fridges have been winning innovation awards for years, and are a favorite of users looking to bring some convenience into their kitchen. This year, Samsung is bringing the Family Hub functions to a new app, SmartThings Cooking.
The SmartThings Cooking app provides what Samsung is calling “smarter meal planning.” SmartThings takes input from the user—things like personal taste preferences or dietary restrictions—and recommends recipes that match. The app can build an entire week’s worth of recipes. It can then work with all of the other Samsung Family Hub appliances in a comprehensive meal planning operation. The fridge will check what contents it already contains, and can order missing ingredients from Instacart, Amazon Fresh, or other online grocers. Your oven will get the recipe instructions, and can be automatically preheated to the proper temperature. SmartThings guides you through every step of the cooking process.
Samsung Bot Handy
Anyone who has ever hated doing a kitchen chore has probably spent time wishing for a robot butler that can do the tasks for them. Samsung believes that day may be arriving sooner than you think. At CES 2021, the company showed footage of some conceptual robots that are built for in-home use. Not unlike The Jetsons’ Rosey the Robot, Samsung’s Bot Handy is shown roaming the home, picking up dirty laundry, pouring a glass of wine, and even washing the dishes. The Bot Handy uses artificial intelligence to recognize household objects and understand how to handle them. We’re looking forward to the day this is reality. Check out the video from CNET to see Bot Handy in action.