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The old dry-erase board grocery list gets a facelift

Bluetooth-enabled remote control scans and tracks the food in your kitchen.

A few years ago, I saw a feature segment about the Microsoft Smarthouse kitchen. The kitchen had virtually every technological feature you would ever need to impress the modern chefs in your life, including a computer that projected recipes right onto your countertop.

The pint-sized scanner can be brought along for the ride on your grocery shopping trips. Photo courtesy

Most memorable for me was the ingenious electronic inventory system, that not only would keep track of what you had in your cabinets, but would predict what you were making by what you began removing from the cabinets (in other words, if you took out the flour, sugar, and baking soda, and put them on the counter, the computer would ask you if you'd like to see some cake recipes). As soon as I had seen the special and had gushed about it to a few close and equally techno-centric buddies, I moved on. I wrote off the computerized kitchen as yet another invention that was very awesome, and simultaneously wholly inaccessible.

Thankfully, someone decided to give those of us who can't afford a kitchen with Internet access and a motherboard the next best thing. Meet the IntelliScanner Kitchen Companion. The handheld Bluetooth-enabled remote control scans the bar codes on your food and matches them with its 300,000-item database, allowing you to upload your inventory onto your computer. The remote allows you not only to keep track of the foods you have on hand (and how much of them), but will also tell you nutrition information, track your consumption history, and generate grocery lists that you can either print from your computer or send to an iPod, Palm OS handheld, or Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

Whether or not you'd actually use a remote control that keeps track of your kitchen, consider the trees you'd save on all of those Post-it Notes and magnetized paper pads that you've been writing your grocery lists on for so long. And that's not the only kind of green you'll be saving: retailing at $149 for the plug-in model and $249 for the portable USB model, the gadget is less expensive than the phone that you'll be sending the grocery lists to. Futuristic and planet-friendly? Sounds like a good deal to me.