Mark Rober uses infrared tech in microwave to show how hot food is.

The Microwave Gets Its First (and Possibly Best) New Feature in Decades

The Microwave Gets Its First (and Possibly Best) New Feature in Decades

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 11 2015 6:58 PM

The Microwave Gets Its First (and Possibly Best) New Feature in Decades

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Microwave ovens aren't exactly on the cutting edge of tech anymore. Even making chicken wings in them is pretty ho-hum. But engineer Mark Rober (who worked on the Curiosity Mars rover, among other awesome projects) wanted to change that. He put an infrared sensor in the top of a microwave, installed a screen in the door, and created a solution for anyone who has experienced the pain of biting into a microwaved burrito that's still cold in the middle.

Rober's prototype is called the Heat Map Microwave. He’s not putting it on a crowdfunding site, but instead is asking people to sign a petition and spread the word so potential investors will know that there’s a market. He even patented the setup. One long-term goal is even to have a smartphone app that lets you see the internal temperature of your food remotely and add time to the microwave as needed.

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As for the question of how to make sure your food is heated evenly (the classic microwave problem), Rober told Gizmodo, "According to all my testing once you are evenly heated on the outside then it meant you were good on the inside. Whenever it was still cold or even just room temp there was some kind of uneven heating on the outside still."

Innovation for the microwave has been a long time coming. Rejoice, pizza-bagel–lovers of the world.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.