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This smart countertop chooses your meals, then tells you how to make them

Jared Newman | April 8, 2015
A new smart countertop from Orange Chef wants to lend a hand to people who can't figure out what to eat--or how to make it.

A new smart countertop from Orange Chef wants to lend a hand to people who can't figure out what to eat — or how to make it.

The Countertop, as it's simply called, consists of an iOS app and a connected kitchen scale that doubles as a food preparation surface. When you're hungry, the app pulls in fitness data from Jawbone UP bands and the upcoming Apple Watch to suggest a meal.

After a workout, for instance, it might tell you to have a protein-rich smoothie. As you start preparing, the Countertop weighs out each ingredient, and the app tells you when you've added enough, so you don't have to bother with measuring cups or spoons. Because the system knows exactly how much of each ingredient you've eaten, it can accurately track nutrition details.

Perhaps even more interesting than the actual Countertop is the suite of appliance adapters that Orange Chef plans to build out. At launch, users will be able to snap an adapter onto either a Vitamix blender or a Crock-Pot slow cooker, and place either appliance onto the Countertop for weighing ingredients. Orange Chef eventually wants to support a much wider range of appliances.

Orange Chef isn't shipping the Countertop and adapters until this fall, but it's taking pre-orders through its website at 50 percent off the retail price. At launch, the Countertop will cost $200, the Vitamix adapter will cost $20, and the Crock-Pot adapter will cost $10.

Why this matters: The concept certainly has promise, as it takes the guesswork out of nutrition tracking by telling you exactly what to eat. The risk, however, is that it might only work in practice for people whose fridges and pantries are always stocked with everything Orange Chef might suggest. If the system can somehow learn the type of ingredients you usually have on hand, and expand its appliance options, it could become a powerful tool for the health-conscious.

 

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