This smart bot can cook your favorite foods in a flash (hands-on)

TNL's OneCook may look like a standard kitchen appliance, but it has hidden RFID tags that automatically recognize the recipe you're making.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
2 min read

Cooking can eat up a lot of time -- and that's a luxury many folks just don't have.

TNL's founder Hanlin Hong knows that as well as anyone; he struggled to find time to prepare wholesome, home-cooked meals during the earliest days of growing his Boston-based startup. But instead of falling into a (delicious, but decidedly less healthy) junk food spiral, he developed OneCook, a supposed solution to today's fast-paced, fast-food-centric culture -- and TNL's inaugural product.

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OneCook looks like a fairly standard cooker at first, but this thing is Wi-Fi-enabled and comes with removable interior compartments outfitted with RFID sensors. Stick your ingredients into these "smart containers" (one ingredient per container), tell the app which recipe you're making and voila! OneCook will automatically adjust the temperature, time and more to suit that specific meal.

TNL's app, available for Android and iOS, already has a bunch of recipes to draw from -- green curry, tomato pasta and cumin beef to name a few -- but you can also create your own and set custom cooking parameters. If you do choose to make a pre-existing recipe, though, you have the option of buying the ingredients straight from TNL, preportioned, prechopped and ready to go. Meals, available only as single servings, average about $6 each and you can opt-in (and out) of their "meal plan" at any time.

I got to see Hanlin's creation at CES earlier this month and sample two different OneCook recipes, kung pao chicken and pork belly (they were tasty, especially the chicken). But the cooker is still in development -- the team just launched a Kickstarter campaign this week -- so Hanlin used a prototype to demo OneCook's capabilities, a much clunkier version of his planned finished product. Even so, it appeared to work as advertised. He added the ingredients, started the cooker from the related app and the food was ready in roughly 5-6 minutes.

Connected cooking products aren't exactly new -- we've seen everything from app-enabled slow cookers, to voice control skillets, Bluetooth baking scales and smart sous vide machines. But TNL's OneCook definitely puts a fresh spin on smart kitchen appliances. OneCook units start at $99/£70/$AU145 and are scheduled to ship internationally to backers in August.