Supermechanical, the Austin, Texas-based design firm that created an incredibly popular sensor that launched on Kickstarter in 2011, has just debuted Range, two connected thermometers designed for cooking. John Kestner, a product designer at Supermechanical, explains that Range was built out of his frustration with not being able to cook meat that was rare enough for his wife.
Unlike iGrill, a popular connected thermometer, Range is connected via a wire, because Bluetooth and other wireless radios can’t take the heat of the kitchen — or the Faraday cage that is your oven. Unfortunately for Android lovers the Range thermometers are only available to work with iOs devices — something Kestner says was intentional because the iPad is, in many homes, the recipe reader and hub of the kitchen.
There are two options for Range, the ember (red) Range designed for meat with a 2 inch pointed probe and a 4 foot cord, and the aqua Range designed for plopping in pots for candy making, brewing and even frying. It has a 3-foot cord and 6-inch rounded temperature probe. Range has a food-safe silicon cover and costs $49 on the Kickstarter for one, or for $89 both. Both can withstand temperatures up to 450ºF and the thermometer reads from -40ºF to 500ºF with 0.5ºF precision at 135ºF.
The Kickstarter launched on Wednesday and the first run of devices is set for December with a second run in February. Kestner says that after making Twine, Supermechanical learned a lot about fulfillment (read about it here) and is confident that it can pull together this project in this time frame.
I’m excited to see connected devices come into the kitchen, where I think the data streams and ambient information could really change the way we cook, consume and interact around food. For example, the temperature sensor on range can share information with an iPhone app, so you can send alerts to other iPhone users when a roast is almost done. Kestner likens it to a modern day dinner bell.
I also like the idea of having temperature as a possible proxy for other important elements in cooking, such as viscosity. When making a sauce, or even candy, it’s important to cook something to a certain texture, but reading the texture in a recipe and realizing when you achieve it on the stove are very different. Range might not help in all cases but other sensors could. That means I could have the perfect Hollandaise in no time with the right connected spoon.
For more on Range and Kestner and I chatting about the connected kitchen — or what Kestner has dubbed quantified cooking — make sure you check out tomorrow’s Internet of Things podcast.