PROjected future

New models of kitchen appliances will differ from its predecessors not only in terms of styling and parameters of energy and water consumption. According to Grundig, their main feature will be an integrated virtual interface, operating on the basis of projectors and sensors that recognize gestures.

Are kitchen appliance buttons superfluous? When we look at the prototype of Grundig VUX (Virtual User eXperience) control system, it is easy to have been convinced that the answer is „Yes”. Fortunately, it is not about controlling kitchen devices with a smartphone. The VUX system including the hood, hob and dishwasher, completely dispenses with fixed knobs, buttons, and a mobile app. Instead, it uses intelligent projection technology and gesture recognition to control household appliances.

Grundig VUX control panel credits Trend Nomad
In the VUX system, digital buttons are displayed only when a user needs them. Among many advantages, this solution improves the design by underlining the purist look of a modern kitchen with uncluttered surfaces and makes cleaning easier. Photography: Trend Nomad

A miniature projector installed on the hood projects the controls for the hob, dishwasher and hood onto, or next to, the cooking surface. That allows the appliances to be controlled as normal: they can be turned on and off, programmes can be selected and temperatures and cooking times can be adjusted, but in a different way. The controls are used in a similar way as a smartphone touch screen, except that VUX uses its projector to recognise commands.

Unlike traditional knobs and buttons, the virtual buttons can be moved around when you need a surface to put something down or prepare ingredients. They even move automatically: if you place a pot on a virtual button, it will move to a free space.

To fully understand how the system does work, please press play and watch a short movie embedded below. Software developer Pedro Batista, one of the members of the Arçelik SW Innovation Centre team, explains all details.

The cooking surface in the VUX induction hob is divided into eight rectangles. It can be heated exactly where a user places their cookware. If a pot or pan is moved, the heated surface will follow it. The system also indicates where a pot should be placed on the stove and whether or not it has been positioned exactly in the centre of the heat source. VUX recognises when something other than a pot or a pan is placed on a hot area and switches it off immediately for increased safety.

Grundig VUX baby cam and phone credits Trend Nomad
Grundig VUX system includes Baby Cam view and incoming call notifications. Photography: Trend Nomad

The VUX system can also connect with a Baby Cam. That allows you to watch your child sleep while you cook. If you pair your smartphone with the system by Bluetooth, the hood will also notify you about incoming calls and allows to answer them without reaching the phone. A microphone and a speaker are built-in into the hood.

Grundig VUX credits Trend Nomad
The Grundig VUX prototype was presented at IFA 2015 fairs in Berlin from 4 to 9 September 2015. Photography: Trend Nomad

The VUX control system is far more that just a prototype shown to attract media attention. The system including the hood, hob and dishwasher is expected to go on sale in the second half of 2016.

P.S. I wish the final, consumer version of the VUX hood will include a home security camera that could be activated remotely on a mobile app. Due to safety reason it should be compatible only with smartphones with a built-in fingerprint sensor.

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