Forget space, it seems as if the kitchen is the final frontier for computing. Companies have tried for years to create a computer that offers the right mix of design, functionality, and price so that people feel comfortable incorporating it into the household hub. (See also 3Com's Audrey, or even our recent post on Pandigital's kitchen TV.) As our Webware colleagues tend to roll their eyes at "yet another social network," so we kitchen geeks often scoff at yet another kitchen computer.
But even a jaded geek like me has to admit: the Kitchen Sync concept that recently received an International Housewares Association design award looks pretty darn cool. The device combines the best of finding recipes on the Web (collaboration, annotation, and search) with the best of physical cookbooks (portability and durability around liquids). You can use it to store and instantly annotate recipes you've found online, as well as plan menus and generate shopping lists. You can take it into the kitchen with you as you cook and use it to watch cooking videos or chat with other cooks via the Web. When it's not in use, the Kitchen Sync sits in its base charger, which is stored out of the way of kitchen spills.
What I like about this idea is that it is just a waterproof wireless peripheral--there are no moving parts, and the device doesn't try to be anything more than a durable, flexible thin client. What I don't like about this idea is that it's just an idea; the pessimist in me fears that actual execution of the concept would require high-cost or bulky materials that would detract from the device's simple usability. Nevertheless, the concept acts as a clear beacon of where kitchen computing should be going.
Via The Kitchn