While microwave ovens still can’t be turned into cameras, it turns out cameras may be making their way inside of microwave ovens.

That’s because BSH Appliances recently was issued a patent for just that: a microwave oven with a camera for observing food inside the cooking chamber.

The patent, issued last week, describes a cooking system that puts a camera behind a glass panel (for shielding from food splatter) and a metal shielding plate perforated with small holes.

A camera captures images through a perforated shielding plate

The camera, which is attached to the mesh metal shielding plate, is able to capture images through a hole or group of holes while still staying safe from microwave radiation.

The patent also describes how the system could connect the camera to an LCD or LED screen on the front of the cooking appliance for viewing what is inside or to a wireless network for remote viewing on a mobile device.

While some may ask whether a camera-powered microwave is even necessary (who wants to watch a Hot Pocket get hot after all?), the reality is the camera acts as a sensor which could enable AI-powered cooking applications such as real-time precision heat adjustment.  Companies like Markov are building next-generation microwave ovens with RF steering capabilities that leverage an infrared camera, and Brava has built an oven with a camera to dynamically adjust a cooking session.

And who knows, with Amazon now heating up the microwave market, what’s to keep the tech giant from adding a bit of its machine vision magic to generation two?

While the idea of smart ovens with cameras inside are not new, a consumer microwave oven with a camera has not, to our knowledge, made its way to market.  With BSH Appliances figuring out a way to shield a built-in camera from radiation, you have to wonder if we’ll see a camera-enabled Bosch microwave soon.

Leave a Reply