Now that it’s prime time grilling season, a new device could be popping up at a backyard cook out near you, if only to prove that even the most celebrated of summer traditions cannot escape the Internet of Things.
Developed by Michael Raymond and Patrick Smith, the BBiQ is a small black box with a series of probes that can be stuck into meats or other foods to monitor temperatures. Data can then be sent via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android app within 50 feet (15 meters), alerting the grill master when it’s time to flip the burgers or take ‘em off the grill.
But before you point out that smart thermometers iGrill and CyberQ Wi-Fi already do that, Raymond and Smith reiterate that the BBiQ is not your average food probe. Instead of merely monitoring temperatures, their device lets users integrate recipes into the platform. By incorporating multi-food menus, grill masters not only know when to season food and take it off the grill, the BBiQ app suggests what food should go on the grill first, where to position it on the grates and how long it should stay there.
“Other devices are just fancy thermometers that show you the temperature (locally or remotely),” states Raymond and Smith. “The BBiQ knows what to do every step of the way, and walks you through it. It completely eliminates the ‘hovering’ and ‘checking’ normally associated with grilling. All you need to do is wait for the next alert notification and the app will tell you what to do next.”
Along with the microcontroller, probes and Bluetooth, the device includes an LED buzzer that alerts users when attention is required at the grill. The current Android app, which is half completed, displays real time temperatures and list of recipe instructions for food on the grill. Besides calling up the built-in recipes, users will also be able to enter their own.
Raymond and Smith have plans to develop iOS and Internet-based versions of the app, as well as a web portal. The duo eventually want to add app features such as recipe and photo sharing, shopping lists and meal plans based off of the food in users’ refrigerators. To light all those fires, a Kickstarter fund has been started with a goal of $75,000. BBiQ’s creators hope to keep the device’s retail price under $50.
All fine and dandy for a geeked-out cookout in Long Island, New York (where Raymond and Smith are based), but I have a hunch the famous pit masters of the South would be absolutely offended if the BBiQ was brought into their backyard. After all, in this domain, BBQ rules supreme and grilling technique is a time-honored virtue, passed down from generations, not something a few convenient Yankee probes and a smartphone app could ever hope to master.