A few months ago, The Spoon discovered how then-stealth startup Markov corporation was looking to use AI to make a better microwave. This past week, we’ve discovered the company has since taken significant steps towards locking up some intellectual property that could help them do just that.
Since the spring, the company has quietly began to talk about their oven – the Level – which essentially is exactly what I predicted back in March: a smarter electronic oven which uses computer vision and other forms of machine learning to better apply energy. And just this in the past two weeks, the company, which counts eBay founder Pierre Omidyar as an investor, was awarded the two patents that originally tipped their hand.
According to the first patent application entitled “Electronic oven with infrared evaluative control“, the company has developed technology for a control system that utilizes infrared camera sensors to assist in the cooking process. The patent application describes how they plan to use an infrared camera as part of a learning and control system that will more evenly apply heat as compared to a more traditional microwave oven.
This patent application appears to be related to another a patent application from the company founders called “Electronic oven with reflective energy steering“, which describes a way to use RF/microwave energy to more precisely and evenly apply the heat within the cooking chamber.
Markov’s technology looks like a significant upgrade to traditional microwaves, which suffer from uneven heating due to their inability to apply electromagnetic waves consistently across cooking zones for the duration of the cooking session. By using AI to better steer the electromagnetic energy more precisely, users will get better results.
Based on my original sleuthing, I had found the company had indicated it had raised an initial $20 million in funding. According to this May article in the Wall Street Journal, the company has since raised its total funding to $25 million.
While Markov is currently offering demos of the Level, it has yet to reveal pricing for the oven.
You can see the a hero reel of the Level in action below.