Smart Knob Lets You Control Your Oven Precisely Via Phone

Smart Knob Lets You Control Your Oven Precisely Via Phone


It turns out that even former Amazon and Pinterest engineers can’t take a new product to market without spending years prototyping and testing. And that’s as it should be, say the pair behind Meld, a clever gadget that replaces the existing knob on a standard stovetop to connect to a smartphone and precisely regulate temperature.

“They say baking is a science and cooking is an art, but the temperature part of cooking is very scientific,” Meld cofounder Jon Jenkins told Forbes. “What we tried to do … is take the part that’s science and what humans are bad at and let you do the part that’s art — the flavor.”

On its second day of the recent Kickstarter campaign, Meld had pulled in more than $80,000 out of a $50,000 funding goal.

With backgrounds at Amazon and Pinterest, Jenkins and cofounder Darren Vengroff used their own funds to bring Meld to a place where they felt comfortable launching a Kickstarter campaign, with a promise to deliver to backers in October of this year.

Though it looks fairly straightforward, the system is technologically sophisticated. The knob communicates via Bluetooth with a sensor that is clipped to the side of the pot, and the device’s motor adjusts the heat.

The pair spent more than a year working with 3D printers and iterating the functionality of the entire system multiple times. They developed a proof of concept by July of last year, and they brought the gadget to a prototype by that November. This year they chose a manufacturer and last month they finalized the design before launching the Kickstarter April 7.

The knob and clip will retail for $149 together, but on Kickstarter the package is available for $129.

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Jean Thilmany is a freelance writer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her articles covering technology and electronics have appeared in publications such as MIT Technology Review and Minnesota Monthly.

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