Not into barbecues? With this one-of-kind griller, you might just change your mind. Fully equipped with built-in sensors and an entertainment system, the Griller is a piece of cutting-edge innovation that promises to transform your barbecuing experience.
Technology isn’t just about speed for the creators of the Griller, especially when it comes to doing a slow, juicy roast. The team wanted to create an enjoyable food experience – one that was fun and didn’t compromise on taste and flavour.
The idea for the automatic barbecue grill first came up during Camp Hack Day 2014, an outdoor Internet of Things (IoT)-themed event held in Niigata Prefecture. It was here that one team of four – designer Manabi Igarashi, engineer Itog, research and PR consultant Rietty Suzuki and engineer-DJ Kaneko Hozumi came together to explore the use of electronic cooking tools while camping.
The team wanted to create the ultimate meat grill experience. What culminated was the Griller, an invention that used data to determine the conditions necessary to cook the perfect piece of meat. Every 10 minutes, sensors in the Griller measure heat intensity and detect the temperature on the meat’s surface and centre. A module controls these sensors, records the information, and sends it to a smartphone. The data, is collated, analysed and helps the team determine the best formula for cooking meat.
“People just need to wait for a notification on their phone to let them know that their meat is cooked, so anyone can grill meat well,” Hozumi said. “We are close to achieving our aim, thanks to the high-affinity Intel Edison Compute Module.”
In addition to these hi-tech meat roast features, the Griller also has a disco ball and four speakers that allow you to play music while barbecuing.
The team’s efforts led to the Griller receiving the Nissan Award at the Camp Hack Day event.
Catering to individual meat preferences
One of the biggest challenges for the Griller team was catering to individual preferences on how one likes meat done.
“By identifying each person’s likes and dislikes, what tastes they thought were good and bad, we were able to offer a ‘recommendation’ function in the Griller that can be adjusted according to personal preference,” Hozumi said.
Moving forward, the team aims to make the Griller indispensable to future campers. There are also plans to conduct live demonstrations in physical stores to show people how easy it is to cook meat according to everyone’s preferences.
“We hope that it won’t be long before people feel that if they are cooking meat, it has to be in the Griller. Or if they are going camping, they have to take the Griller,” said Igarashi. “If an event can be more enjoyable because people are using the Griller, that’s enough to make us happy.”
Sowing the Seeds of Innovation at DMM.make AKIBA
The concept and design of the Griller was developed at the DMM.make AKIBA manufacturing facility in Tokyo, and it was there that the team first witnessed how IoT could be incorporated into cooking.
DMM.make AKIBA evangelist Yasunori Okajima, whose role is to support tech startups at the facility, believes the Griller shows a lot of promise.
“The U.S. has a major barbecuing culture, and the combination of barbecuing and technology will mean a lot of potential for business development,” he said.
“The manufacturing industry has made remarkable progress after WWII, but collaboration between existing companies, startups, engineers, communities and large enterprises with excellent planning, technical and promotional skills is important in ensuring further development. At DMM.make AKIBA, we expect to see more cutting-edge products such as the Griller in the future.”