The connected home is mostly about light switches and locks today, but several companies are trying to launch connected products with more of a culinary bent. The Drop connected kitchen scale is one of those. On Tuesday it began accepting orders for its $99 connected scale that we covered a few months back. The scale should ship in the fall.
And while the scale makes for a fun gadget, I’m more excited about the possibility to rethink recipes for a digital age.
Ben Harris, the CEO of Drop, stopped by the Gigaom offices a few weeks back to show off the scale and how one might cook with it, and my biggest takeaway wasn’t the scale. It was the process of cooking. Most recipes follow a similar format: a list of ingredients, instructions for combining those ingredients and then some form of cooking that either comes later or is incorporated into the combination process.
Drop’s recipes offer a slightly different format: a list of ingredients and equipment divided up into blocks. Because the recipes are built around the scale, one preps an ingredient and then adds it to the scale with the recipe prompting each action and waiting until you are done. The scale and app also adapt to the amount of an ingredient you have, so if a recipe calls for a cup of flour and you only have 3/4 of a cup, it can scale back the other ingredients.
The recipes are far more visual than previous generations of recipes, and for any step you need help on, there’s a video illustrating just that step in the process. So if you don’t know how your egg whites are supposed to look for a meringue, you can tap your iPad screen or a capacitive area of the scale and see what you’re aiming for.
Harris explained that the goal here isn’t to stick solely with the connected scale, but to make food prep a bit more modular and current with today’s technology by adding other connected devices.I did think this method of baking (that’s what the Drop scale is focused around today) would be much easier for my daughter than the current recipes we use that are scrawled on a piece of paper. Plus, she loves playing with the iPad.
Drop joins companies like Philips, Supermechanical and The Orange Chef in creating a connected kitchen product. Of these, The Orange Chef’s prep pad, a connected scale costing $150, is already on the market today. Another company called Thinkg is making a highly stylized connected scale called GKilo that is amazingly beautiful, but is set to cost $225.