Just what the world needs: Android in the rice cooker
Things you can’t make up
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.
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? ®
I just created this account to say this...
Android is in the smartphone, not in the rice cooker, and the only communication the cooker has with the outside world is through an NFC chip that pairs with your smartphone to download cooking program settings and upload usage information.
As for a rice cooker being simple, there's differences for white rice or brown, keeping it warm all evening, designer burnt bits, adding veggies to the pot, adding shop-bought rice-mix flavours (frozen and vacuum-sealed), etc, etc.
Indeed, one of the use cases is buying food with a QR code on the box, popping onto the scanned website to get the ideal recipie, then bonk-to-scoff.
(And yes, I do work there...)
Soon we really will have the pot calling the kettle black.
Re: I just created this account to say this...
I think a lot of reporting on stuff "in Japan!" is intentional mis-reporting to make things seem more weird/unusual than they actually are.
Re: The Windows rice cooker...
Raw potatoes though- where's the bloody start button?
Re: The internet fork...
Will it tell me where the other one is?