Monthly Archives: July 2016
Japanese appliance maker Balmuda has created one of the most expensive toasters on the market- a $230 home appliance that claims to toast bread perfectly, every time.
Whereas traditional toasters- which have changed little since they received their outer casings in the 1920’s- are generally thought to be the most disposable and affordable, low-tech kitchen appliances currently in wide circulation, Balmuda has transformed what was once old-school into a high-tech gadget determined to improve your quality of life.
The Balmuda toaster uses steam and carefully calibrated heat cycles to ensure perfectly toasted toast every time. It can transform store-bought bread into toast that feels, tastes and smells like it just came out of the oven of a professional baker. This propensity for creating luxury toast has led Balmuda to deem the gadget worthy of a price five times its more drab competitors. Apparently a fair amount of Japanese citizens agree, as pre-orders for the toasters have led to a three-month waiting list, all without Balmuda spending a penny on advertising.
So how did a company that generally creates flat screen TVs, walkmen and digital cameras wander into the territory of gourmet toast making? The story goes that a Balmuda company picnic was unfortunately thrown on a rainy day. Stubborn partiers warmed their bread on a grill despite the wet weather and found, to their surprise, that under those conditions they were able to make delicious, perfectly prepared toast.
Among the toasters was company founder Gen Terao and his group of product designers. They attempted to reproduce their delicious toast sometime later, but found that fair weather conditions wouldn’t allow it. Eventually someone made the connection that water was necessary for the yeasty delights of the company’s past picnics and, thousands of test slices later, the group figured out that steam is able to trap moisture inside a slice of bread while it’s being warmed at low temperatures. Cranking up the heat at the very end can couple this pleasant texture with the crust present in all toast we know and love.
“The best results are with croissants,” advised Mark Oda, who works on web and media content in Tokyo and was the first ever purchaser of Balmuda’s toaster. “I can never go back to 5,000-yen toasters.”
Terao’s ambition to reinvent the toaster may be explained by the flexible and creative mindset from which he views the world in general. Terao wasn’t always the head of a tech company; in his teen years he dropped out of high school, cashed a life-insurance payout after the death of his mother, and trekked across Spain, Morocco and the Mediterranean. He returned to Japan to front a rock band called the Beach Fighters, which scored a record deal but never became famous. Eventually he convinced a small local factory to allow him to use their milling machines and started making simple, useful products like laptop stands, desk lights, and electric fans. Finally, in 2014, he turned his intentions to food, because “eating is a moving experience.”
Now Balmuda can’t keep stores stocked with their famous toaster, but the company still plans to start expanding sales to South Korea.
We often think that our lives are hard in western culture and associate that pain with the shortcomings of our tech devices and accessories. This is obviously ridiculous, but for those who air those concerns life may be getting easier yet with the development and production of several new gadgets that are just over the horizon. The funny thing about tech shortcomings and the difficulty of our daily lives navigating them is the fact that these are very much self perpetuating problems. Where by, the scaling up and exemplifying of everything entails that there is simply more to do and keep track of and manage through our devices. Thus we are in an infinite regress loop where things aren’t getting necisarily better or worse, just different. That said here is a look at some of the tools of the future tomorrow, today.
Up first is the notion of everything going wireless has long meant that it means our remotes or receivers operate under this. But there really hasn’t been a big leap in going wireless in recent years, until today. Lets face it, charging cables are annoying, and a huge contributor to the global e-waste problem. They are restive to mobility and prone to failure. Some of the new smartphones are already coming with the ready to charge wireless system, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, so really all you need to be doing if you have one of them is that you have to put it near the the wireless receiver then, boom wireless charging dawg.
Up next is a problem you didn’t know was a problem until now. The Winbot window cleaning robot is changing the way you wipe, and swipe your way to glory. You just slap the Winbot on your window, then hit the play button and watch it do its work and clean your windows with ease. Think rumba for your window. and the results are stunning; crystal clear windows without the haste of having to clean up after yourself or do something that requires your hands, no thank you.
Up next we have the Reset Plug which automatically resets Wi-Fi. Essentially teh ResetPlug has one single operation, which is that it is to reset your router when it starts losing its connection, that thing you do by plunging and unplugging something. You essentially plug your router through it and it monitors the Wi-Fi signals and will thus automatically turn the router of and as you imagine, back on in order to get your connection back. Very simple operation, but is actually probably going to be a huge success.
Up to the next operation we have the Amazon Echo, as smart-home tech becomes more and more common place, the controlling it all can become a little unwieldy. What is mean by that is that it is not only a smart assistant capable of directing you the weather and playing your favorite jams, what it can really do well is that it can connect with other Bluetooth which enables devices and services.