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Jetsons, Here we come!

Call your oven from your cell phone. New WiFi technology makes it possible.

Amy Higgins
Associate Editor
Machine Design

Hold on to your remote controls, your living room is about to go Wi-Fi. Better wireless-fidelity technology able to support high data rates is making it possible to share Internet access between any number of home devices, including home-entertainment equipment. Until now, the home office was really the only room taking advantage of Wi-Fi, wireless local-area networks (WLAN) based on IEEE standards for 802.11b. But high-end Wi-Fi variances, such as 802.11a and .11g, are promising big things for homeowners. Imagine TVs that not only stream movies from the Internet, but also let you see what's happening in another room. Or refrigerators that keep watch of expiration dates and let you download recipes from the Web. And smart ovens that keep your casserole cold until programmed remotely to "Start Cooking."

"This is why the consumer-electronics industry is so excited," says Senior Industry Analyst Sean Wargo, Consumer Electronics Association. "There's much content that can be shared throughout the home." Wargo admits it will still be some years before every device, from PCs to TVs to appliances, has its own built-in wireless card. But, he says, the industry is making big strides, as more and more consumer-electronics products are Wi-Fi enabled. That point was driven home at the recent 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Read on for some of the latest wireless home wonders at CES.

The ultimate oven for busy domestic goddesses.

Late for dinner? Don't worry, your oven will wait. Tonight's Menu Intelligent Ovens from TMIO LLC, Brecksville, Ohio (, take home networking to new levels.

The Web-enabled smart ovens can be controlled remotely in real time via a cell phone, computer, or PDA. Users can easily set cook times, delay cook times, increase the hold time, change cooking temperature, or cancel the cooking cycle altogether. The unit operates using standard TCP/IP protocol superimpressed on a powerline. Users simply attach a phone line or Ethernet connection to the appliance server and plug it into a home outlet.

Integral to the high-tech range is Embedded Web Technology from NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland. The remote-access software platform is the same technology used by NASA to get real-time information to and from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. TMIO alsoworked with Oceaneering Space Systems, Houston (, to develop the oven's Peltier microrefrigeration mechanism.

Tonight's Menu software is written for MS Windows. To make users' lives even easier the software mimics the actual appliance controls: Users simply click a button that matches that on the actual appliance. Homeowners can add frequently prepared dishes to the program, and each has its cooking and refrigeration steps spelled out. Once the user tells the oven what time to prepare the dish, the software uses the already-defined steps to automatically calculate when to start cooking. This feature comes in handy when preparing multiple items at once. For example, the oven will begin roasting the chicken well before the microwave starts cooking the carrots.

This article has been abridged from the original which can be found at

For more information:

David I. Mansbery
President & Chief Executive Officer

© 2004 TMIO, LLC