Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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automatic measuring cups

programmable automatic measuring cups
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

A rack containing several sizes of piston-style measuring cups. The bottom of the measuring cups slide into receivers, and a worm gears and screws push the pistons to the proper measurement. A small computer (programmable on a home computer) stores the measurements for different recipes. A touch screen on the device lists the ingredients being measured, and would allow the user to identify the proper cup by touching that ingredient on the screen. A light would then illuminate under the proper cup (they are transparent), causing the cup to glow. When that cup is removed, this is indicated on the screen.

This system would be useful for several reasons. First, it would serve as modifiable recipe storage device. It would be easy to engineer the software to make weight-to-volumetric conversions and vice- versa, and to make these conversions customizable. It would make it much easier to scale up recipes - if the user wanted 1.5 recipes of the general's spicy chicken, this could be accomplished without having to determine how to measure on-half of one-third cup of ginger.

The cups could then be used as mis en place containers in dishes where this is necessary.

nomocrow, Jun 13 2010


       I used to think that inability to cook wasn't a very important disability, in people with disabling medical conditions. I was wrong: for some people, it seriously impairs quality of life. So [+] for a first step in the direction of a system that would allow Stephen Hawking to take up gourmet cooking as a hobby, if so inclined.
mouseposture, Jun 13 2010

       The problem with weight-to-volume conversions isn't just the math, it's that ingredients' conversion rates can vary drastically, depending on where the ingredient comes from, how it has been processed, and how long it's been sitting there. (Flour is the usual example.) The piston measures are nifty, but there's only so much you can use them for.   

       I don't look forward to cleaning cookie dough out of the worm gears and washing one item of complicated machinery for each ingredient. But this would be fun to use and watch get set up.
jutta, Jun 13 2010

       I had kind of thought of that, but not fully.   

       There are a whole bunch of different types of flour, which vary by as much as 60 g per cup. If your measuring method is fairly consistent, however (I use whisk, scoop, and level), the volumetric measure should stay fairly consistent. Being able to customize the conversion (140 g of King Arthur AP flour = x cubic centimeters) for different ingredients should make it fairly accurate.   

       This could be otherwise addressed by having a couple of standard cylinders that rest on scale bases that are tared to them. The system would go beep when you had scooped enough dry goods in for that particular recipe.   

       Problem ingredients would simply be inputed in grams, rather than volumetric values. When the recipe was pulled up, one of the scale cylinders would light up.   

       A similar idea would to be to make the whole system manual, based on weight, with a gang of small scales tied to the screen.   

       Oh, and the bases attach to the device, and the worm gears retract after the internal piston is pushed to the desired height, so the only thing that has to be washed is the two-piece piston cup.
nomocrow, Jun 13 2010


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