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Intelligent cooking control and induction cooking
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Intelligent cooking control and induction cooking

by neznet on Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:16 pm

I am wondering if anyone is interested in a project that relates to induction cooking, or at the minimum, controlled cooking (including inductive, resistive or eddy current heat generation) - or if anyone has experience or information on the technology. Although this technology is nothing new there are some new trends and developments that make it more interesting and relevant today than in the past - specifically:

- better electronics
- the "green" trend to conserve energy
- the need to save time (and foster more home food preparation)
- the increasing interest in low temperature cooking, especially
when in regards to certain vegetables and certain beneficial oils. This can sometimes be hard for some people to implement under typical cooking scenarios.
- the ability to cook unattended, thanks to intelligent control, makes further energy savings possible through the use of an insulated enclosure.

An interesting application that comes to mind is one where a controlled cooktop (not necessarily inductive), complete with thermal feeback and regulation; conventional all-metal pot and insulating enclosure work together to enable unattended, very low energy cooking (due to the insulating enclosure and low dissipation of heat). After the initial phase of heating, the insulated enclosure retains heat so that only minimal energy is needed to continue cooking.

The thing that helps make this more practical is the unattended aspect of temperature controlled cooking, not the inductive element.

The Japanese have been making similar products for years in terms of automating food preparation with modern technology, one interesting company I've come across is zojirushi (http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/all.html) (google them and see what can be done and what hasn't been done). But there are others as well. The rest of asia seems to be getting big into it as well, though that's not to say that other regions of the world are not doing the same things.

As there is a growing number of people who can't afford their existing living arrangements there will consequently be a downsizing of living arrangements and many of these people might not have, or need, or want a full size, old fashioned, heat losing conventional stove/oven. Existing space will likely have to be reconfigured and having a conventional full size stove/oven (along with the 30 amp line for it) might be a luxury. We are beginning to see this trend take place already - in the form of new architectural interest in small houses and living spaces. I think we are going further down that road than most people might expect. While a small house/ living space can save you loads on taxes, maintenance and energy expenses, it doesn't preclude using modern banned. And if you are living in a 200sq foot space, you don't want to turn your small residence into a sauna or steam bath every time you cook something. And microwaves, while they are a great appliance, don't handle all cooking tasks well.

I am not sure what level of implementation would be best to start with. I suppose there are many ways to do this kind of thing, from doing the induction part, and everything else, from scratch - to buying one and modding it ($60-200)- to just building a relay, thermocouple interface with a programmable timer/controller to control an old fashioned heating element.

Does anyone have any ideas on where to start? I'd love to see a kit or even a make contest entry based on energy efficient controlled cooking, with or without inductive heating.

Not sure if this is the official "new idea forum", if there is a better place then let us know. Thanks.
neznet
 
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Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:33 pm

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.