Three next-generation kitchen technologies to watch
7/2/2011, 9:07 a.m.
(ARA) - When new technology makes its way into home design, often it enters through the kitchen. The heart of the home is also the portal for innovation, and many of the technologies that we now use throughout our homes were first applied in the kitchen.
Kitchen innovation has come a long way since the exciting days when the rotary hand-mixer replaced the whisk - and liberated a generation of homemakers from the labor of beating batter by hand. Here are some new trends and technologies to watch:
Removable, reusable wallpaper
While wallpaper has been gracing American kitchens for generations, those who have shied away from using it there have had good reasons. Applying wallpaper to an entire kitchen wall is a big design commitment. The labor of cutting around cabinets, cupboards, windows and doors means most homeowners would only tackle wallpapering a kitchen just once. Or, they may have really played it safe by restricting their wallpaper activities to adding a border. And, even "washable" wallpaper had to stay on the walls, where it would, over time, get splattered and stained.
A new product, SmartStick by MuralsYourWay.com, makes it easy to add wall designs anywhere you want in your kitchen. The moisture-resistant mural can be repositioned anywhere in the kitchen and can be reused hundreds of times without losing its adhering qualities. Murals for kitchens can even by customized. Just submit your photo through the website and the company creates a custom mural using your artwork.
Electricity is a current and currents require a cord to deliver power from the source to whatever is being powered - right? Not anymore. The emergence of wireless power is replacing traditional cords with electromagnetic fields. While the science behind wireless power is truly leading-edge stuff, the technology itself has some very down-to-earth, practical applications in the kitchen.
How many times have you had to move cords out of your way when working with a small appliance in your kitchen? Cords are inconvenient at least and dangerous at worst if they get wet or damaged. Designers and engineers are working on adapting wireless technology for kitchen appliances - so you can run a blender without ever having to plug it in.
While the kitchen is one of our favorite rooms in the house, it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Virtually every hand that enters a home makes its way to the kitchen, where touching common surfaces like faucets, light switches and even paper towel holders can spread germs. And when you're cooking, cross-contamination is always a concern.
Convenient and healthful, touch-free technology can help reduce the spread of germs by eliminating the need to actually touch common surfaces. The technology is already being used in kitchen faucets and lighting. One company has even created a paper towel dispenser using the technology. Watch for innovative designers to find more ways to apply this useful technology throughout the kitchen.
Kitchen design continues to be a launching pad for exciting new technologies. And, today's "innovative" kitchen technology will probably appear routine to future generations.