Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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microwave stovetop

Why do it in a box?
  [vote for,

Why do microwave ovens have to be enclosed? Why can't we have a stovetop which works on the microwave principle? That way, I'll be able to cook my regular food faster, whether I'm baking a cake or making an omelette! I'd be able to cook my food way faster and use better looking pots and pans instead of using the same stuff since the iron age!

I understand that there are health issues involved (you could easily have the blood in your hand boiling if you stick it into a microwave that's running). But then the microwave doesn't really have to be at the bottom of the stovetop like conventional stove top heaters or gas flames. And it needn't be on the top like a griller either. You could have the microwave units along the edges of the stove so that the microwaves travel horizontally instead of vertically. And the microwave units along the side edges need only be an inch or two high. After all, it's only the bottom of the pot that needs heating! So if the waves travel horizontally, there wouldn't be any danger to people stirring food in the pot! Also, I suppose corresponding plastic / ceramic utensils and spoons / ladles can be made which can be used with this.

This is the way I envisage it. A blank cooktop. Just a flat plate, that's all. The microwave emittors are along the left and right edges, standing upright a couple of inches high. I can place my pot anywhere on the cooktop and it would sense where the pot is placed (pressure sensitive maybe?) and turn on the microwave units only at that point along the edge. As to individual settings of high and low, as and when I place a pot, I have a control which I can set for that pot for high/low. It could be an touchscreen LCD strip along the right edge, and as I place the pot, the LCD indicates where I've placed the pot. And touchscreen high/low control button appears next to it, which I then adjust. As I place another pot, maybe behind this pot, another indicator lights up along the LCD strip.

When the food is done, and if timed, the corresponding LCD indicator would blink and make soft beeps. There wouldn't be any danger of drying up the food completely.

The other problem with a regular microwave, is that it doesn't brown the food. That problem could be solved parallelly if along with microwave, the unit also emits infrared. That way the food would get both cooked and browned!

Also, if I wanted to use a portion of the cooktop as an oven, I would probably have some kind of a glass / ceramic lid which encloses the whole pot. That way, I could skip the conventional oven as well.

And finally, if I just want to toast bread, I choose the infrared-only mode!!

abh1jit, Jul 16 2004

Just use this http://www.de.afrl....s/activedenial.html
Its a microwave gun [evilmathgenius, Oct 04 2004]


       // Why do microwave ovens have to be enclosed? // I'm guessing that the radiation may not be so good for you.
jonthegeologist, Jul 16 2004

       They actually use microwaves not-in-a-box as a non-lethal weapon. Being that, I don't want it in my home.
evilmathgenius, Jul 16 2004

       Is this science bad enough to be "bad science"?
angel, Jul 16 2004

       My first thought was: Where to start? Then I looked for the first major problem that caught my eye, and my next thought was: can I deconstruct this?   

       Here's what I've got.   

       1. Your microwaves are more like a flashlight beam than a laser, they will spread across the separation left by the pot. The shields will have to be considerably taller than the 1 inch emitters you have built in. If the emitters beam across the whole countertop, that could be VERY high. So the "whole countertop" method is probably impossible, unless you have something else up your sleeve.   

       2. The danger of these microwaves is that they could cause thermal burns if you stuck your hand in them. This is the same danger posed by every stove ever, so it doesn't necessarily disqualify this.   

       3. The microwaves will not all be absorbed by the shields. Some will be deflected. You will receive some of the microwaves through your body. This could be a problem, depending how much. However, this is not ionizing radiation like that emitted by plutonium or radon, it is nonionizing radiation like your cell phone, only at a frequency that will heat water.   

       4. Heating water is all this system is good for, as a meatloaf or something will have beam-shaped hot spots, and be cold throughout. You will need beam coverage of everything you want cooked.   

       There's more, but I have to go.
GutPunchLullabies, Jul 16 2004

       Oh, before I go, there are stovetops that heat your pans by induction. They look just like a flat sheet of glass, but if you turn them on and put on a pot, they heat the pot.   

       Look into it, very jetsons.
GutPunchLullabies, Jul 16 2004


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