The Living Kitchen, by Parisian designer Michaël Harboun, is a lofty idea for a kitchen that literally comes alive at your touch. Using your fingers, you can grow faucets and sinks from the walls. You can draw circles on countertops to whip up bowls and vegetable choppers. Think of it a giant touchphone — that shapeshifts.
The key is claytronics, materials made up of nano-scale computers or “catoms” that can be controlled remotely to change form and function. Extensive research is underway at Carnegie Mellon and Intel Labs, though the tech’s still pretty far-flung. As one expert said, per ExtremeTech: “On a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 is making catoms a reality, they’re at 0.1.?
Which is probably just as well. As cool as it’d be to have an onion-chopping countertop and as much as we, in our pint-sized New York apartments, like the idea of a kitchen that disappears when it’s not being used, Harboun’s concept has one glaring drawback: It’s not especially sanitary. You don’t want to have to draw lines on the walls to get your faucet to pop up after you’ve been handling raw chicken. That’s just begging for salmonella.
Our vote is for some sort of gesture-controlled kitchen, where you wave your hand around, wand-like, to make all your cooking supplies magically appear. We have no clue if it’s possible, but we’re just sayin?: It’d be clean and you’d still never have to chop onions again.