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Pay attention, novice smoothie makers -- Vitamix's new line of blenders will use wireless connectivity to do a lot of the work for you.
The containers that come with the Vitamix Ascent Series blenders and the blenders themselves will use near-field communication (NFC), which lets two devices talk to one another when they are close to one another.
With this feature, which Vitamix calls "Self-Detect," your Vitamix will know if you're blending a pitcher or a single-serving cup based on the container, and it will adjust program settings along with blend times accordingly. The blenders won't power on until they sense that a container is in place, and the blender will disable certain programs if the wrong container is in place (for example, you can only select the hot soup preprogrammed setting with a 64-ounce container).
Don't get too excited if you have an older Vitamix model, though -- the new containers will only work with the Ascent line.
The Ascent blenders are also equipped with Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It's disabled right now, but Vitamix plans to turn that feature on this fall. The plan is for the blenders to connect to the Perfect Blend app from the Perfect Company, the creator of smart kitchen scales and apps that guide you through recipes based on the weight of your ingredients. Vitamix has previously partnered with Perfect for a Vitamix-branded Perfect Blend scale.
When Vitamix enables Bluetooth on the Ascent line, the blender will automatically send information about the size of the container to the Perfect Blend app. The app will then adjust recipes and ingredient amounts for that container and walk you through a recipe -- if you have a connected Perfect Blend scale. If you don't have the scale, you'll still be able to download the app and use it to send instructions to the blender about which setting you want to use.
The Ascent line has four blenders with the Self-Detect technology, all of which are available now.
The addition of NFC in Vitamix containers and blenders is an intriguing way to incorporate wireless communication into a countertop appliance. It's an approach that doesn't just throw in technology that folks don't need or want; rather, it lets two blender parts talk to each other for the sake of efficiency without drastically increasing the price (keep in mind, Vitamix products are expensive to begin with, but the NFC feature doesn't change the cost). It will be interesting to see how blender manufacturers such as Ninja and Blendtec keep up.