In the internet of things, the kitchen often seems to be the last room in the house to get some love. Garages, locks, pets and especially outlets are all getting some kind of radio and smarts via an app, but so far, cooking is left on its own. Maybe that’s because there aren’t open data standards for food or because the connected fridge burned people so badly. Or perhaps it’s because everyone who sees the kitchen has decided that the best connected device to launch is a connected scale.
Adaptics, a company launching Monday afternoon, is no exception. It joins The Orange Chef (which raised $1.2 million from Google), Escali and others in offering a scale that connects to a smartphone running apps. Like others, the Adaptics scale connects with an iPad, a piece of technology already in use in many kitchens.
The connected scale is an easy entry point into the kitchen because it solves two problems — it knows what food someone is placing on the scale (via the person identifying it or perhaps more exotic means) and how much there is. That makes it great for folks concerned about nutrition, but less great for people concerned with cooking. I would suggest products like connected thermometers or a spoon that measures viscosity (my dream) as being a bit more helpful.
The Drop scale straddles the divide between tracking and teaching by helping you adjust your baking. At its heart, baking is taking water, flour and salt and making a variety of breads. Add sugar and differing amounts of egg for sweets. It’s very much a scientific process where exact measurements by weight as opposed to by volume are essential to the quality of the finished good. Unlike a soup or stir-fry, a cake doesn’t tolerate “a little of this and a dash of that.”
So the idea here is that the Drop scale measures your ingredients and then helps you adjust your recipe to adapt to the amount of flour or eggs that you have. It also suggests substitutions if a recipe calls for buttermilk and you realize you don’t have it. We don’t have pricing or availability yet, or a sense of how well this might play well with other products, but if you are into baking I suppose the Drop might be a fun gadget to have.
Speaking as someone who is currently watching the status of a simmering soup via a remote camera above a pot on my stove, though, I’m hoping the connected kitchen gets a bit more sophisticated. And soon.
Updated: This story was updated on Feb. 26 to note that Chef Sleeve and The Orange Chef are the same company.