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

Cooking without the uncertanty.
  [vote for,

I believe that this should have been done a long time ago.

The Thermotron cooktop looks like your average cooktop, resistance elements or gas burners arranged in the conventional fashion, but with a small twist. In the center of each burner there is a small insulated tube. This tube is spring loaded so placing a pan on the surface forms a small circle of pan insulated from the direct heat of the burner. Below this is mounted an interferometer that measures the temperature of the surface directly in the middle of this ring. The interferometer is far from the heat, mess and violence of the stovetop. The diameter of the insulated area is designed to approximate the mass insulation between the bottom and the top of a conventional pan. Data from the sensor should roughly proximate to cooking conditions. This data is fed to an adaptive fuzzy logic thermostat similar to the ones found in HVAC systems. It would attempt to regulate the surface to a preset temperature and then adapt to user adjustments to the dials in a proportional manner (saute' on high, simmer on low,) If the sensor sensed an out of range value (no pan, pan on fire) the system would shut down the burner and trigger an alarm. Since the computer would operate adaptively calibration would be done using the users input; turning the dial downward always achieves a lower temperature, upward always a higher. The response rate of individual pans would be set with a learned theta value for each cook cycle, rate of heat response sets the slope for the lambda ramp for increases and decreases in detected temperature: Cast iron gets the blowtorch treatment, plated aluminum gets a less aggressive response or what have you, but ADAPTIVE in every case. A "boil" button would use these standards to quickly achieve and maintain a steady boil. Gas stoves would require duty cycle regulators, electric ranges could use a more conventional potentiometer. I suspect that this would add around 250$(US) to the price of construction but that that would be easily offset by the gourmet and "gee wiz" factors. Upgrades include the "Master Saucier", "Soup Genie" and "Waffle Wizard" addons.

WcW, Feb 25 2009


       With professional induction stoves you have most of this functionality (if you use the pans provided by the manufacturer)
loonquawl, Feb 26 2009

       yes, i know, but for those who like to cook with gas, or who don't want to buy a complete new set of proprietary cookware, building regulation into a more conventional stove seems like an idea whose time has long since come.
WcW, Feb 26 2009

       Why not measure the temperature of the upper surface with an IR thermometer mounted in the hood? Once you put stuff in the pan things would change, but as long as we're getting ADAPTIVE we could deal with that, right?
Ford, Sep 25 2009

       because the top of the food may still be cold while the bottom is burning, also because the temperature of the pan is what the chef cares about because that isn't where the cooking is happening.
WcW, Sep 26 2009


       I'm picturing a touch panel on the glass stovetop, with a programming interface and range of options similar to a microwave.   

       For example: Eye fillet (bip) medium rare (bip) - weight sensed by a scale in the stovetop comparing before/after weight of the pan. Hob goes into "Sear" mode, alarm indicates time to turn the steak over. Then it switches off to rest the meat for the appropriate time, and switches on again to cook it through at a lower heat, again reminding the user to turn it.   

       Or you could just learn how to cook.
BunsenHoneydew, Sep 27 2009

       I'm just tired of burning perfectly good pans and constantly adjusting the heat to get a good fond. This idea doesn't replace the rolls of the cook, it simply gives them control over the exact cooking surface temperature which IMHO would be a boon even to a professional chef.
WcW, Sep 28 2009

       //doesn't replace the roll of the cook// good, it's the pitch you have to watch out for mostly, anyways.
FlyingToaster, Sep 28 2009


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