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Heat Map Microwave: Nuke your food with thermal Predator-vision

A prototype microwave invented by a former NASA engineer shows a heat map of your chow as you blast it, so you can see exactly when it's hit the right temperature.

Heat Map Microwave concept
Inventor Mark Rober wants to improve the microwave. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The microwave is too often a chamber of mystery. You throw something cold inside, take a guess at the amount of time it will take to warm it up to the perfect temperature, press "start" and hope for the best. The process then usually involves a lot of poking, stirring and restarts. Inventor Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer, decided to build a microwave that gives visual clues as to the done-ness of your meal.

The Heat Map Microwave combines a regular microwave with Predator-style thermal vision. The idea involves attaching an infrared lens inside the microwave that points down at the tray and its contents. Instead of a window on the front, a screen displays a heat map of your soup, burrito, Hot Pocket or marshmallow Peep.

Rober says the Heat Map Microwave could be set to turn off when the food reaches the right temperature as seen by the thermal camera. It could also send the images to your phone so you could track your food's progress without hovering over the kitchen gadget. A dedicated app would let you add time to the nuking process without having to go hit buttons on the microwave.

Rober isn't keen on the idea of crowdfunding, so instead he's working to gauge interest in the concept by gathering signatures for a petition. So far, over 20,000 people have registered to support the project and receive occasional updates on its development. Perhaps it's time the humble microwave finally evolved into a sweet high-tech kitchen helper.

(Via Digital Trends)