Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Odd Blog (I warned you about)

Photo courtesy: CrunchGear

I used to own a microwave that I used about 1x a week to reheat something or the other; however, I never really trusted those round holes to hold all those microwaves inside the oven where they belonged.

Eventually, I decided I was too paranoid to be a microwave owner and threw it away. I have never missed it because I never used it enough for it to become part of my kitchen repertoire; however, I know people who use their microwaves for nearly all their cooking chores.

Then comes the annoying question of what to do while waiting for your food to reheat? I mean, there you are at the microwave facing a possible 90 seconds of having to entertain yourself without the aid of an external stimulus. Somehow chores like wiping down the counter, rinsing out the sink or just spending 90 seconds in quiet contemplation seems totally inadequate somehow.

But wait! Those geniuses at Keio University in Japan have managed to save us from ourselves. They have integrated a monitor into the window of the microwave and connected it to a computer so that it picks random YouTube videos that are the same length as the cooking time. They are calling it the CastOven. Brilliant!

Here's a video on how it works that I could not be bothered to watch.

Gizmag points out a few problems:
Because they are chosen based purely on their running time, there's no way to control which clips are displayed. That could cause problems for families when little Billy goes to heat up a tasty snack, only to be exposed to content not suitable for young, impressionable eyes.
Eschewing the transparent glass in favor of an LCD display also means that it's not possible to keep an eye on things as they cook. Still that could add a touch of suspense to your cooking with the tension mounting as you open the door at the completion of a clip unsure whether it will reveal a perfectly cooked meal, or an unrecognizable, charred, smoking lump.

Photo courtesy: CrunchGear

However, these shortcomings haven’t stopped the CastOven taking the Outstanding Performance Award and the Jury’s Special Award in Japan’s Mashup Awards 5. Personally, with this last winner I think the name "Mashup Awards" is quite apropos. They received it for "turning waiting time into fun".

To me the frightening part of all this is that there will be a market for it.

Via TreeHugger, Gizmag and CrunchGear

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