When you microwave food it’s often hard to know just when the tasty goodness you’re warming up is heated through all the way to the middle. Often defrosting food is a haphazard affair needing a couple of blasts from the microwave before you know it’s hot in the middle, plus the only way you can really tell is by jamming something into the meal. usually it’s your finger (ouch) or a utensil.
Now former NASA JPL engineer Mark Rober is leading the charge into the quest for a new microwave, with a website and petition behind a new type of microwave with a screen and an infrared camera to detect the heat present in food in the device, Rober previously worked on the Mars rover Curiosity, so it’s safe to say he knows his sensor tech.
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A top down image of food projected onto a screen where normally you’d have a glass window on a traditional microwave forms the backbone of Rober’s patented concept. Obviously this screen will show infrared results and the food will change color based on how hot the food is, from blue (cold) through red and yellow to the color white showing optimal food temperature.
Rober spoke to Gizmodo about the idea recently, saying that regardless of the angle of the camera it should work. According to his tests, the surface temperature of the food is enough to represent the internal temperature too. According to his research as long as food is evenly heated on the outside it should be hot through to the middle too.
Additionally there shouldn’t be an interference problem from the microwaves that might disrupt the feed from the camera, with Rober saying that scientifically there wouldn’t be any problem with using the method.
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There’s more than just the ability to monitor the temperature of your microwaved snack manually – if the tech takes off a software enabled microwave, or even one connected to the internet as an internet of things device, could have the ability to sense by itself when food is ready. A smart microwave could even take the short breaks in operating, which are sometimes required when food is meant to be heated up in steps.
All in all it’s yet another good step into taking the devices we know and love and making them more up to date with current technology. You can head over to Rober’s website below and sign his petition, which will hopefully result in companies taking notice of the concept if there’s enough interest.
Sign the Petition: Bettermicrowave.com