A Smart Microwave?

The Lempert Report
January 21, 2016

15-year-old invents smart microwave that heats foods to their perfect temperature

The Internet of Things will be changing the way we cook, clean and especially how our kitchens work. In the state of Oregon there is a 15 year-old named Shahir Rahman who watched his dad heat up water for tea in the microwave, and more often than not, the water would boil over the side of the mug. So, as many 15 year-olds who love their dads do, he decided he would fix the problem. His concept was to build a microwave that heated up foods and beverages to the correct temperature and not a second longer. Most of us who have made microwave popcorn feel the same way. Unpinned kernels are frustrating, and adding more time might or might not work as you find scorched popcorn that doesn’t taste very good.

Rahman took apart a microwave, and with the help of his dad, an engineer, started to explore how to build a microwave that could even determine different temperature needs for foods on the same plate. His example? Heating up mashed potatoes, but not the salad. He used a temperature gun to create temperature profiles for an array of foods and wrote learned advanced math in order to write algorithms that would identify foods and calculate the correct temperatures. For example, low viscosity foods like soups should be hotter while thicker foods like pasta, which is eaten right away, should be cooler. 

Of course there is a smartphone app that will monitor the temperature and time. Now before you get too excited, you can’t buy this microwave just yet. He is still making tweaks to the microchip, algorithms and circuitry with his dad’s co-workers at Intel and hopes to refine the invention to the point where a cook will not have to input any data - that the microwave can do all the work to identify the food that needs to be cooked. Maybe the perfect Christmas gift for 2017?