Feeds

Just what the world needs: Android in the rice cooker

Things you can’t make up

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Less than a fortnight into 2013, we have a candidate for the year’s silliest product: a networked, Android-sporting rice cooker.

Readers will remember some chilling demonstrations during 2012: the vulnerability of pacemakers to outside attack, for example (insulin pumps were already compromised in 2011), while McAfee (the company, not the nominative fugitive) maintained its long campaign to try and anticipate attacks against systems in cars.

And they’ll remember 2012 for a procession of Android bugs and vulnerabilities (including this and this).

However: with CES on the go, appliance makers pursue their belief that the world’s Jetsons-like future is best reached by turning formerly harmless devices into Android monsters – as noted in this Bloomberg BusinessWeek piece, all the way down to the rice cooker.

“Panasonic’s Android-controlled SR-SX2 rice cooker lets users search for recipes on their Android phones and then transmit them to the cooker. It also provides information such as how much electricity it has used,” the article notes.

Now, keep in mind that this is a rice cooker: one of the simplest appliances possible, since its entire function is to apply heat to a pot containing rice and water (with whatever additives the owner wants to try) for a given amount of time. With the addition of sensors and “fuzzy logic”, even premium kitchen gadget brand Cuisinart charged just $US150 for the sadly discontinued Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker with Fuzzy Logic Technology.

With Android added, Panasonic is asking $US600 for its extravaganza.

It’s the cognitive dissonance, however, that I find most difficult to reconcile. The world knows that software is attackable – Android is not unique here – and we know that the will and desire exist to find and exploit vulnerabilities.

And a rice-cooker is a product designed to operate a heating element, unattended.

What could possibly go wrong? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.