Elecrolux's Inspiro oven launches this week, using technology that could be the future of cooking. Using a heat management technique rather like auto focus on a camera, the Inspiro's sensors first analyze what is to be cooked before calculating the temperature and time needed. The company's CEO, Hans Stråberg, likens it to the way cameras now automatically set aperture, exposure time and focus, depending on the light and what's in the frame.
"When auto-exposure and auto-focus were new features on cameras, there was a lot of skepticism," claims Stråberg. "But, with time, auto-focus has been accepted and today it is a standard feature. For the oven and for the camera, it is all about pushing one button to ensure a professional result."
To cook a joint of meat, you simply select "roast" on the oven's single dial, before indicating whether you want it rare, medium or well-done. The oven, apparently, will tell you whether to put it on its top, middle or bottom shelf—while it is still cold. Then the Inspiro's special maths stuff begins.
It works out the energy consumption and time needed to get the meat to the right temperature of the. That information, alongside its database of professional cooking techniques, calculates what combination of heating modes is required—whether the heat needs to come from the top, bottom, side, whether it needs to use its fan or the grill—to get the dish cooked to perfection.
There's also a manual mode, which means you can ignore the Inspiro's epicurean brain and cook things exactly how you want it. It looks good, too. Here's a video of how it is put together in the Electrolux factory in the German city of Rothenburg.