One of the things that excites me the most about the Internet of Things is all of the clever solutions to annoying problems people have come up with. Whether it's a sprinkler system that monitors the 5-day forecast to avoid wasting water or a thermostat that learns its owners habits to optimize home heating and cooling, there are huge numbers of products that can be improved by adding a little intelligence and maybe a connection to the hive-mind.

The (irrational?) exuberance for innovation has extended into the kitchen for a while. We've seen tablets optimized for recipe reading, coffee machines that take commands from your smartphone, and I've heard tales of scientists racing towards a kitchen fabrication... thing... that will be able to print pizza-like foods from bags of dehydrated raw ingredients.

keurig of everything

The IEEE Spectrum, though, highlights a new trend in cloud-connected kitchen smart-things: "Keurigs" for everything. There's no doubt that Keurig's pod-based coffee makers are phenominally popular. Once relegated to high-end offices and waiting rooms, Keurigs are everywhere now, and the pods that were once a special-order item can be bought at virtually any big-box, grocery or drug store. Noticing that runaway success, plenty of entrepreneurs are rushing to find the next must-have kitchen gadget, and crowdfunding sites are littered with new pod-based appliances that purport to make everything from cocktails to hot meals.

Each device is big, bulky, expensive and, stupidly enough, single-purpose. Nobody is yet proposing a coffee-maker that also makes scones, or a cocktail-maker that can also spit out tapas: in other words, something that's interesting, useful, time-saving, or all of the above. And even if they did, the scope of the thing would probably be so tight that it'd be next to useless for all but the laziest of people.

I'm all for innovation in the kitchen. I spend plenty of time cooking and cleaning up the subsequent mess myself, and I can think of any number of Jetsons-esque devices that would make that part of my life easier. None of these Keurig-style things that we've seen so far are one of them though.



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