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Drawer-level microwave, craft ice maker among CES kitchen innovations

Appliances large and small were showcased as part of CES 2020 last week, the larger of the pack on exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here are a few:

Already on the market is Sharp Home Electronics of America’s 24-inch Microwave Drawer, a built-in with touchless opening, concealed intuitive touch controls and built-in airflow. The 1,000-watt oven has 11 sensor options, enough space for a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish or 7-inch-tall cup and has sensor cook, reheat, popcorn, melt, soften, warm and keep warm settings and six auto-defrost settings. It’s about $1,000 to $1,200 at various retailers.

LG’s InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerators can make, in addition to regular cubed and crushed ice, slow-melting craft ice balls. Prices vary by model but hover around $3,000 at various retailers.

GE’s Kitchen Hub is an over-the-range interactive smart kitchen and ventilation system that uses AI technology to help home cooks choose recipes based on available ingredients, raise and lower oven temperatures and announce when food is ready. It’s $1,199 at various retailers.



Other projects are more conceptual in nature, with release dates uncertain.

GE’s Home Grown is subtitled, “imagining zero distance between what you eat, what you grow,” for the counter-to-table extension of the farm-to-table movement. Home Grown will enable urban dwellers of the future to grow, store and prepare food. Three systems — for hydroponic, aeroponic and soil gardening — will make it possible to grow food thanks to automatic delivery of light, water and nutrients. Guidance will be provided for seeding, harvesting and preparing of crops.

Shift Kitchen is the company’s answer to the changing needs of the aging population and multigenerational households to transform spaces, in real time, to the needs of the residents. The “tech-powered, inclusive, flexible design” will use facial and voice recognition to make height adjustments and other such changes.

And WPC, the Wireless Power Consortium, announced that it’s working on Qi, a wireless-charging kitchen counter. It’s working with appliance manufacturers on devices that will work simply by being placed on the counter, without having to be plugged in.

Shelly Palmer, an advertising, marketing and technology consultant, said the idea has been around for a while.

“You can get this technology in a Corian top,” Palmer said. “You can get this technology from DuPont. The Formica group has it, too.”

The problem, he said, is that the technology will change rapidly and the countertop will not.

“The idea of taking your multi-thousand-dollar counter and building a charger into it makes little sense,” he said, although he said some manufacturers are working on designs in which the charging apparatus is mounted under the counter and can be easily changed.

Palmer said you also have to figure out the exact spot on the counter where you’re going to place the appliance.

“In theory, those kind of appliances are ‘Oh, wow,’ ” he said. “But if you’re going to do all that, plug the damn thing in. It’s one of those solutions in search of problems. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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