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LG seeks patent for smart oven that controls its own heat

Pexels/PhotoMIX Company
July 5, 2021

South Korea’s LG Electronics has filed a patent application for an oven with artificial intelligence that ensures the proper cooking of food according to recipes set by the user.

The “cooking apparatus”, which can be an electric oven, microwave cooktop or air fryer, is equipped with RGB and thermal cameras to assess the internal, external, and surface temperature of the food. A neural network uses the images to determine, or predict, how much a food item has been cooked.

Example of an oven using internal cameras to gauge the temperature of instant rice.
Example of an oven using internal cameras to gauge the temperature of instant rice.

The AI system uses a “cooked state” data to modify the oven’s heater and timer as needed. The cooked state of the food according to the inventors is the food’s temperature obtained from captured images.  It also conducts machine learning over a 5G network, which enables communication with a server and the user’s electronic device. The server may transmit and receive data used to train smart ovens in recognizing various food items. The electronic device may come in a range forms, such as a smartphone, a wearable device, or a robot.

The system can also store information about the user operating the oven together with the recipes they frequently use. This eliminates the need to repeatedly input the same recipes on future use.

LG says an oven capable of automatically adjusting its heater and timer, while learning and adjusting recipes, can adapt to a great number of food items with varying characteristics. Changing the type of meat, for example, would need a modification on how it is cooked under a standardized recipe.

The company’s application cites a patent granted to Michigan-based competitor Whirlpool, which discloses technology for photographing food through a camera mounted inside an oven. It is aimed at allowing users to easily check the state of their food. However, LG states that Whirlpool’s patent does not include a system for modifying an oven’s heat based on temperature readings. A similar omission is noted in a South Korean patent application for a “thermal camera microwave.”

The featured patent application, “Cooking Apparatus and Control Method Thereof”, was filed with the USPTO on March 13, 2020 and published thereafter on June 17, 2021. The applicant is LG Electronics Inc. The listed inventor is Ji Chan Maeng.

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