Two researchers from Japan’s Keio University (which yours truly attended just until recently by the way) have developed a kitchen appliance aimed at the total web geek in you, a YouTube-powered microwave. The so-called Castoven [JP] is based on a conventional, unbranded model of “good quality” but sports a 10.4-inch LCD screen in the door panel.
Needless to say the researchers didn’t forget to build a set of speakers into the microwave, too. It’s connected to a Mac, but I suppose this would work with Windows computers as well. The concept, first made public in a research paper published last year [JP, PDF], is to make people’s everyday lives a little more worthwhile through mashing up web contents with electric appliances.
The main idea is to display a YouTube video whose length depends on the time you need to heat up what’s inside the Castoven. Say, you want to prepare a lunch box that takes 3.30 minutes to be ready. The Castoven would then automatically pull a video from YouTube with that length and display it on the screen until the meal is finished.
Software-wise, the microwave is based on a special Adobe AIR app that gets the videos through YouTube’s API.
The Castoven isn’t available for sale yet, but I do see stuff like this coming into kitchens in the near future.
Here’s a demo video: