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Panasonic makes the first countertop induction oven

Induction cooking is great for budding chefs: it rarely needs preheating, it’s energy-efficient and it’s safer than conventional burners. Getting it has usually meant going for a full-size oven or cooktop, however, which isn’t practical if you’re in an apartment or otherwise can’t justify tearing out your existing appliances. That’s where Panasonic thinks it can help. It just introduced the first-ever countertop induction oven, giving you all the benefits of the technology in a relatively tiny space. If you want to grill a barbecue-grade steak, you can do it with a device that’s roughly the size of your microwave.

Don’t plan any summer meals around Panasonic’s compact cooker — the mini induction oven won’t ship until October. There’s also no mention of pricing so far, and it won’t be alarming if this world-first model carries a premium. Regardless, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to forego the latest in culinary tech just because you’re stuck with an old-school oven in your kitchen.

Source: Panasonic (PR Newswire)


ZTE faces restrictions on using US technology

Chinese companies already have a hard time doing business with the US (mostly over spying fears), and it’s about to get worse. Reuters sources understand that the US Commerce Department is about to slap ZTE with restrictions on what it’s allowed to import from its American suppliers. From March 8th onward, those companies will reportedly need to apply for export licenses to ship anything to ZTE, and those grants will “generally be denied.” The move would be punishment for allegedly breaking export rules by shipping US tech to Iran.

We’ve asked ZTE for comment and will let you know if it has a response, although it has already said that it was ramping down its Iranian business to avoid trouble. Whatever its answer, it’s safe to say that these export limits could seriously hurt ZTE, especially its budding mobile device business. Some of the firm’s American bigger partners include the likes of Intel and Microsoft — it’s going to have to scrounge for alternatives if it can’t get key chips or software from US companies. While this doesn’t mean that ZTE gear is going to disappear from stores shelves, it may have to take a roundabout route to get there.

Source: Reuters


Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


Chris Monroe/CNET

How long does it take to turn raw chicken and vegetables into a meal? According to Panasonic, it’s just a 20-minute endeavor when you use the electronics company’s latest small appliance.

Other cool kitchen gadgets
  • KitchenAid’s iconic mixers are now smaller, but just as costly
  • Prodigio machine brings app-connected smarts to Nespresso’s pod coffee brewing line
  • Five small appliances we can’t wait to try at this weekend’s housewares show

Panasonic showed off a prototype of its Countertop Induction Oven at the International Home and Housewares Show, a small appliances trade show in Chicago that began Saturday. The induction plate at the bottom of the Countertop Induction Oven makes this device stand out from the toaster ovens and microwaves it resembles. With induction cooking, magnetic fields between the cooktop surface and cookware create heat that cooks food quickly and more efficiently than other methods. The Countertop Induction Oven also has an infrared broiler in the top of the unit. The heat sources work together to cook meals such as chicken breasts and vegetables in 20 minutes or less.

The Countertop Induction Oven will be available in the US and Canada this fall. Panasonic hasn’t finalized the price, but the company estimates it will cost around $600.

Traditionally, induction has been reserved for ranges and cooktops, but it’s beginning to gain popularity on the countertop with connected devices such as the Oliso SmartHub & Top and the FirstBuild Induction Cooktop. Panasonic’s jump to include induction in an enclosed unit, along with the addition of functions such as toast, is an ambitious move that could eventually mean a new alternative to the microwave or toaster oven.


  • 12 by 14 inch removable nonstick plate holds food and fits on top of induction surface
  • Nonstick plate has different heating zones and gets hottest in the center
  • Functions include: grill, broil, bake
  • Specific cook settings for poultry, poultry with vegetables, fish with bone, fish without bone, frozen pizza, toast and bagels
  • Removable drip tray at the bottom of the unit
  • No preheat required
  • Enamel-coated interior

Cake AR platform puts virtual makeup on your face in real time

Last year, one of my fellow Engadget editors got to try some jewelry without actually putting them on through FaceCake’s augmented reality platform. Turns out the company also created a variant for makeup, and Cargo, one of its brand partners, is already putting it to good use. Unlike most virtual makeover apps, you don’t have to upload a pic to use it. You don’t even have to download any add-on. It was built with HTML5 and JavaScript, and so long as you have a webcam, you can try on virtual makeup in real time right on your browser.

Cargo has already activated the feature on its lipstick and eyeshadow pages, which you can play with right now. While I notice a little bit of lag (and I do wish I can change the program’s lip shape to fit mine), the virtual products can follow your face around if you don’t move too fast or too close to the camera. Shopping platforms like Cake can make buying makeup online loads easier, especially if there aren’t a lot of beauty bloggers that share your skin tone. You might not be able to test a lipstick’s longevity or texture, but even just having an idea of what a product might look like on you is better than buying blind.

Source: Cargo (1), (2)


Quantum computer revolves around just 5 atoms

It’s no mean feat to find the factors of a very large number — even a supercomputer can take years to find all the multipliers. However, MIT researchers have found a way to clear this massive hurdle. They’ve built a quantum computer that discovers number factors using just five atoms. Four of the atoms are turned into logic gates using laser pulses that put them into superpositions (where they maintain two different energy states at once), while the fifth atom stores and delivers answers. The result is a computer that not only calculates solutions much more efficiently than existing quantum systems, but scales relatively easily. Need to get the factors for a larger number? Introduce more atoms.

It’s a one-trick pony at the moment (it can only get factors for the number 15), and a truly complex computer would require “thousands” of simultaneous laser blasts to work. However, it could have big ramifications for the security world. A sufficiently powerful machine could end the use of any encryption that depends on factoring — a government agency or hacking team could easily crack codes that are otherwise near-impenetrable. On a basic level, this quantum factoring could also help solve math problems involving extremely large numbers (say, universe-scale calculations) that would normally be too daunting.

Source: MIT News


The darkest material on Earth has become even darker

When Surrey NanoSystems introduced the original Vantablack, the company said the carbon nanotube material is capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light that touches it. It’s so dark, it can fool your eyes into seeing a smooth surface even when the nanotubes were actually grown on crumpled foil (seriously — watch the video below the fold). Well, the new version of Vantablack is darker than that. In fact, Surrey can’t even give us the percentage of light that gets absorbed, because its spectrometers can’t measure it.

In this video below (and the GIF above), you can see the material engulf the laser pointer in darkness when it moves across:

This one’s the older version, which is still so dark, looking at it is like peering into the abyss:

Vantablack has a lot of potential applications, especially in the military and space sector. It could, for instance, be used to coat stealth vehicles. A team of Utah State University researchers found a rather novel use for it, though. They used the material to create an extremely absorbent urinal cake — a black hole that sucks in your pee.

Source: YouTube


KitchenAid Pro Line Series Blender Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


KitchenAid just threw down a hefty gauntlet in the blender wars here at IHHS 2016 in Chicago. The appliance maker just unveiled the $600 Pro Line Series blender, what it breathlessly claims is the most powerful smoothie machine home cooks can buy. Equipped with a 3.5 peak horsepower motor, on paper the new Pro Line looks like a beast of blender. It technically offers more raw chopping muscle than any similar appliance we’ve taken for a spin which includes powerhouse contenders such as the Blendtec Designer 725 and Vitamix 750.

More than just a monster

Tucked away inside the KitchenAid Pro Line Series blender is a 3.5 peak horsepower electric motor which in theory is stronger than the Blendtec Designer 725’s (3.4 HP) and Vitamix 750’s (2.2 HP) engines. According to KitchenAid though, strength is just part of this blender’s story.

The countertop appliance relies on what the company calls, “asymmetric” blades which are designed to suck food ingredients into an inescapable whirlpool of liquefaction. This approach say KitchenAid ensures ultra-smooth blends competitors can’t match. Of course we can’t confirm these lofty claims until we put the KitchenAid Pro Series through our official battery of grueling blender torture tests.

KitchenAid also chose to install die-cast metal knobs on this machine instead of plastic dials or touch controls other blender makers gravitate towards. This design supposedly increases the appliance’s durability and lifetime in the long run.

More details

  • 3.5 peak horsepower
  • Dual-walled thermal jar
  • Capable of blending hot liquids such as soups and sauces
  • Flex-Edge tamper that doubles as a spatula
  • $600 for Frosted White and Onyx Black models
  • $700 for Candy Apple Red, Imperial Black, and Medallion Silver models

‘Koi’ is the first PS4 game made entirely in China

Now that China allows game console sales across the country, local developers are finally getting a chance to shine: Oasis Games has the distinction of introducing Koi, the first PS4 game made entirely in China. The debut isn’t a triple-A blockbuster, but it’s an intriguing, philosophical title that has you purifying a koi fish pond by solving puzzles, opening lotus flowers and dodging predators. Appropriately, it also has a “hypnotic” Chinese piano score to sooth your mind.

Koi doesn’t have a firm release date beyond 2016 –i t’s only getting its first showcase at the Game Developers Conference this month. However, its very existence could help open the floodgates for Chinese console game makers, especially indies. While console-friendly Chinese studios have existed for years, they tend to be satellites like Ubisoft Shanghai (which assisted on titles like Far Cry 4). Many existing studios tend to develop for the platforms that have long been legal, such as PCs and smartphones. This could encourage Chinese outfits to go it alone when working on consoles, or at least to work on games that cater to homegrown tastes.

Source: PlayStation Blog


The Ben Heck Show’s Felix hacks a guitar

While Ben is away, Felix and Karen will play… the guitar! Karen uses lasers for the electronic housing while Felix prototypes the microcontroller, audio codec and LCD display to embed in an acoustic guitar. It takes a bit of modding, cutting and even an accident with the screen! Watch the episode above to hear how well the guitar plays, and then head over to the element14 community to talk to The Ben Heck Show team and find the build files for this project.

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