SLIDESHOW

Kitchen Tech: From Ingenious to Absurd

Making a grilled cheese sandwich will never be the same with these 15 high-tech kitchen aids.

The Kitchen of Tomorrow

When you think of high-tech rooms in your house, you may think of your living room with its HDTV, or you home office with its brand-new computer. But maybe you should start thinking about your kitchen. We found 15 gadgets that can make your kitchen cleaner, safer, and easier to use. Oh, and it will smell better, too.

Germ Eliminating Knife Block

You won't have to worry about germs any longer with the Germ Eliminating Knife Block. This $90 gadget uses ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill surface bacteria (including salmonella, listeria, and staph) and sanitize your knives. Just rinse them off, and place them in the block. Great for mysophobes and lazy cooks. Of course the germs are still there, but they're dead--or deeply tanned.

Photo credit: Hammacher Schlemmer

Fisher & Paykel Izona CookSurface

The folks at Fisher & Paykel know that cooks hate cleaning up, so they've designed a gas stove cooktop that's easy to clean. The Izona CookSurface features burners that retract right into the surface of the stove, leaving you with a smooth, flat surface to wipe clean.

Credit: Fisher & Paykel

Aquabrass i-Spray Kitchen Faucet

Who says technology and water don't mix? Not the folks at Aquabrass, who designed this electronic kitchen faucet. It comes with a soft-touch control panel for adjusting the water flow, and an LED temperature indicator. You can expect to shell out almost $2000 for the faucet alone--but at least it looks good. And for some shoppers, that's all that really matters.

Photo credit: Aquabrass

Remote Controlled BeerPager

The $20 Remote Controlled BeerPager combines a drink holder and a pocket-size remote. If you wander too far from your drink and can't remember where (or which one) it is, simply press your pager. Depending on the BeerPager model you use, the brew that is rightfully yours may burp or beep or light up to identify itself. This is one of those rare devices that become more useful as the night wears on.

Credit: RC Products

Smokey the Kitchen Companion

You know when you're cooking, and you accidentally burn something in your oven, and your smoke alarm goes off, scaring the bojangles out of you--and any kids or pets that may be nearby? It happens to me all the time, but once Smokey the Kitchen Companion hits stores, that whole experience could be a thing of the past. Smokey is still only a prototype, but when its alarm goes off, you can silence it simply by pressing the device's hand. Then you can focus on the main tasks of clearing the smoke and coming up with a snappy Paul Prudhomme-type name for the meal.

Credit: Beth Fuller

Kenwood Cooking Chef

The Kenwood Cooking Chef, available in the United Kingdom, but not yet in the United States, can mix and cook at the same time. It's a stand-alone mixer for food prep, but it includes an induction cooker for cooking your food as you prepare it. Convenience comes at a price, however: The Cooking Chef lists for £995 (about $1585 at the current exchange rate).

Photo credit: Kenwood

Demy Digital Recipe Reader

Your cookbook is so last century. And your iPad is so up-to-the-minute that you wouldn't risk ruining it in your kitchen. Meet the Demy, a kitchen-safe recipe reader. This $200 device stores your personal recipe collection digitally, stands upright on a counter like a picture frame, and lets you browse through its contents on a high-resolution color touchscreen.

Photo credit: MyDemy.com

Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center

If a simple recipe reader would seem out of place in your high-tech kitchen, check out Pandigital's Kitchen Technology Center. It has a 15.6-inch high-definition display, and can function as a digital photo frame, a recipe viewer, and an HDTV (a receiver is included). The $300 Kitchen Technology Center can connect to the Internet, too, so you can browse for new recipes when you're low on ideas. Interchangeable frame plates in three colors (black, white, and "metallic") let you match various other nearby appliances and fixtures.

Photo credit: Pandigital

Z-Island

Zaha Hadid Architects designed this concept kitchen for DuPont. The faucet-like objects in the middle of the island don't dispense water; instead, they emit fragrances to get rid of (or mask) bad odors. The island also features a cooking surface, an eating surface, an LED screen for displaying recipes, and a built-in TV--all in glossy white to highlight smudges and spills.

Photo credit: DuPont Corian

Kitchen Laptop Stand

You don't have to spring for a new device just to get Internet access and a recipe viewer in your kitchen:Your existing laptop can do the job just fine. But to protect it from direct contact with spilling, crumbling, or splattering ingredients, you might want to invest in the Kitchen Laptop Stand. Avoid the hassle of having to remove sugar, flour, and peanut butter from the cracks in your keyboard with this $36 gadget.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

Hamilton Beach Voice Activated Coffeemaker

When you roll out of bed, eyes blind with sleep, the last thing you want to do is fumble with your coffee maker. If you own Hamilton Beach's Voice Activated 12 Cup Coffeemaker, you won't have to: It's designed to run on voice control. Simply press a button, tell the $60 coffee maker when it should start brewing, and your cup of fresh joe will be ready for you before you can figure out where you put your reading glasses last night.

Credit: Hamilton Beach

Admetior Digital Spoon Scale

Sometimes, the best ideas come in small packages. Take Admetior's Digital Spoon Scale: This $20 device measures both the weight and the volume of the ingredients you scoop, giving you two ways to make sure you that have exactly the right amount. It's even dishwasher safe.

Photo credit: Admetior

Electrolux Snail

Why bring your pot to the stove, when you can bring the stove right to your pot? That's the idea behind the Snail, a concept product that won its designer, Peter Alwin, the Electrolux Design Lab 2010 Contest. The Snail is a magnetic device that sticks directly to the side of a pot, pan, or other metallic container and uses an induction cooking process to heat the contents.

Photo credit: Electrolux

Krups Digital Toaster

Can't bear the tension of not knowing how much longer you have to wait for your breakfast bagel? The $60 Krups Digital Toaster takes the guesswork out of the vigil: Its LCD counts down the toasting time, so you can tell with a quick glance at the screen how close your bagel is to golden-brown liftoff.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

Kubik Multi-Table

If your kitchen of the future is tight on space, the Kubik Multi-table will free up some room. This dining table combines an eating space with a refrigerator, plus room for eight different integrated appliances--such as a mini-dishwasher,a toaster, a coffee maker, a mini-microwave, and a freezer. The top of the table even includes an OLED screen for Internet access. But where the heck is the kitchen sink?

Photo credit: Petr Kubik