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Title:
COOKING SYSTEM HAVING INDUCTIVE HEATING AND WIRELESS POWERING OF KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/024913
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cooking system comprises a cooking surface on which cooking vessels are to be placed for heating and kitchen appliances are to be placed for powering. There is at least one cooking zone which has an inductive heating system for inductive heating of a cooking vessel at the cooking zone and an appliance zone having a wireless power transfer system for wirelessly powering a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone. There is wireless communication with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone so that it can be identified when a kitchen appliance is present and the type of kitchen appliance can be identified. The wireless power transfer system is then controlled in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance. Furthermore, information is provided on a display which relates to the identified kitchen appliance. This enables a compact solution which can guide and inform a user throughout the food preparation and the food cooking process.

Inventors:
SMOLE, Philipp (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
MAIER, Dieter, Johann (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
STARMANS, Franciscus, Jozef, Marie (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
STRUTZMANN, Thomas (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
Application Number:
EP2017/069916
Publication Date:
February 08, 2018
Filing Date:
August 07, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V. (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
International Classes:
G06Q50/12; A23L5/00; A47J36/00; G05B1/00; G06F3/00; G06Q10/08; G06Q30/06; G06Q50/20; G09B5/00; G09B19/00; H05B6/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014104425A12014-07-03
Foreign References:
US20130171304A12013-07-04
US20160079774A12016-03-17
US20160134431A12016-05-12
US20160081515A12016-03-24
US20120235636A12012-09-20
US20130171304A12013-07-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FREEKE, Arnold, Jan et al. (Philips International B.V. – Intellectual Property & Standards, High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A cooking system, comprising:

a cooking surface (12) on which cooking vessels are to be placed for heating and kitchen appliances are to be placed for powering, wherein the cooking surface comprises at least one cooking zone and at least one appliance zone (14a, 14b);

a heating system for heating of a cooking vessel at the cooking zone;

a wireless power transfer system (40) for wirelessly powering a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone;

a display system (18) for displaying information to a user;

a wireless communication system (38,46) for communicating wirelessly with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone; and

a controller (24) for controlling the inductive heating system, the wireless power transfer system and the display system, wherein the controller is adapted to:

communicate with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone using the wireless communication system thereby to identify when a kitchen appliance is present and to identify the type of kitchen appliance;

control the wireless power transfer system in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance; and

control the display system to provide information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance.

2. A cooking system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the appliance zone and the cooking zone are the same zone, the heating system comprises an inductive heating system and the wireless power transfer system comprises a shared electromagnetic coil arrangement (40) for both inductive heating and power transfer.

A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising ghing scale (50) integrated into the cooking surface.

4. A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance comprises information about recipes associated with the kitchen appliance. 5. A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising a user interface for interpreting user commands when the user interacts with the cooking system.

6. A cooking system as claimed in claim 5, wherein the user interface comprises a gesture recognition system and/or a touch sensitive region of the cooking surface and/or a voice recognition system.

7. A cooking system as claimed in 5 or 6, wherein the information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance comprises user interface options for the user interface.

8. A cooking system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the user interface options comprise one or more of: temperature settings; timing settings; speed settings, cooking programs, or recipes. 9. A cooking system as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 8, wherein the user interface enables interaction with media, gaming, and internet access using the display system.

10. A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the controller is adapted to control the display system to provide cooking instructions in respect of a selected recipe.

11. A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the display system comprises one or more of:

a touch display screen integrated into the cooking surface away from the cooking zone;

a projection display for projecting a display onto the cooking surface;

a display screen remote from the cooking surface.

12. A cooking system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising a sensor arrangement for measuring one or more of:

a temperature at the cooking zone;

nutritional information concerning a food item;

weight estimation of a food item;

13. A cooking method, comprising:

performing food processing or cooking by:

detecting the presence of a kitchen appliance on an appliance zone of a cooking surface;

communicating wirelessly with the kitchen appliance at the appliance zone, thereby identifying the type of kitchen appliance;

providing wireless power transfer for wirelessly powering the kitchen appliance;

controlling the wireless power transfer system in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance; and

displaying information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance; and

performing food cooking by:

heating a cooking vessel on a cooking zone of the cooking surface.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the cooking zone and appliance zone are shared, wherein the method further comprises:

detecting the presence of a cooking vessel or an appliance on the shared cooking zone and appliance zone and then controlling the wireless power transfer or heating accordingly.

15. A method as claimed in claim 14, wherein the information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance comprises information about recipes associated with the kitchen appliance.

16. A method as claimed in claim 14 or 15, further comprising interpreting user commands when the user interacts with the cooking system, for example based on gesture recognition and/or touch sensing and/or voice recognition.

Description:
Cooking system having inductive heating and wireless powering of kitchen appliances

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to cooking system having inductive heating and wireless powering of kitchen appliances. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There has been a significant amount of research into more interactive cooktop solutions. The basic idea is to provide a more interactive cooking experience, by providing a cooktop with a display function to assist the user in their cooking tasks.

For example, the display may enable display of recipes, cooking instructions for a selected recipe, or other information. It may also enable interaction with social media or other information over the internet to provide a more rewarding cooking experience.

Various design concepts have been proposed which incorporate various smart features such as guided cooking, gesture recognition, and connected apps.

US 2013/0171304 discloses an interactive cooking system which includes some of these functions.

It is also known to provide wireless powering of kitchen appliances (in particular food preparation appliances or appliances for cooking food which are not based on hob-mounted pots or pans) using a wireless powering zone of a cooking surface. This brings all the equipment needed during cooking to the same area. In this way, it provides space saving and improves convenience and safety for the user by avoiding trailing wires in electrically powered kitchen appliances such as blenders and mixers and also cooking devices such as air fryers, deep fat fryers, bread makers etc.

There are also known food management solutions with cameras and smart sensors integrated into fridges and freezers for tracking content and to provide shopping lists and warn of expiry dates.

There remains a need for a user- friendly and compact system which provides an integrated solution for interaction with the user to assist in a cooking process and also to enable the control and monitoring of kitchen appliances used as part of the cooking process. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is defined by the claims.

According to examples in accordance with an aspect of the invention, there is provided a cooking system, comprising:

a cooking surface on which cooking vessels are to be placed for heating and kitchen appliances are to be placed for powering, wherein the cooking surface comprises at least one cooking zone and at least one appliance zone;

a heating system for heating of a cooking vessel at the cooking zone;

a wireless power transfer system for wirelessly powering a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone;

a display system for displaying information to a user;

a wireless communication system for communicating wirelessly with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone; and

a controller for controlling the inductive heating system, the wireless power transfer system and the display system, wherein the controller is adapted to:

communicate with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone using the wireless communication system thereby to identify when a kitchen appliance is present and to identify the type of kitchen appliance;

control the wireless power transfer system in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance; and

control the display system to provide information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance. This system provides a cooking surface having zones which can be used for inductive heating and for wireless power transfer.

The kitchen appliance is for exmaple an appliance which does not perform heating, such as a food processor, blender or mixer. There may additionally be kitchen appliances which include electric heating elements, such as kettles and toasters. Thus, the kitchen applicances are electrically powered. The cooking vessel is not electrically powered, for example heated by induction heating or by direct heat transfer.

When using the kitchen appliance, the system is able to provide information to the user with a display. Thus, the system is able to guide and inform a user throughout the food preparation and the food cooking process. By recognizing the kitchen appliance, content which is specific to the kitchen appliance may be presented using the display, providing instructions or information which are of direct interest and use to the user of the system. The wireless power transfer system is also controlled in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance. This control may relate to the power transferred or the timing of application of power so that there is automated or semi-automated control of the appliance.

The appliance zone and the cooking zone may be the same zone, and the inductive heating system and the wireless power transfer system may then comprise a shared electromagnetic coil arrangement. This provides the sharing of hardware, making a compact and cost efficient system.

This also enables a compact solution by which the same zone is first used as the appliance zone and is used to power kitchen appliances such as food preparation appliances (e.g. blenders or mixers) and is then used as the cooking zone and is used for cooking in a pot or pan.

The system may further comprise a weighing scale integrated into the cooking surface. This further brings together all the required functions of the food preparation and cooking process to the cooking surface, making a compact system which is efficient for the user.

The information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance for example comprises information about recipes associated with the kitchen appliance. A recipe being followed may have some instructions relating to the food preparation and others relating to the food cooking. The user can thus be presented with instructions about how to use the appliance, or the appliance may even be controlled in an automated or semi-automated fashion, with the user being given real-time information about how the food preparation (or cooking process in the case of an electrical cooking appliance such as a fat fryer or air fryer) is progressing.

The system may further comprise a user interface for interpreting user commands when the user interacts with the cooking system. These user commands may then be provided to the kitchen appliance, so that the user does not need to interact directly with the appliance, but can instead provide all control instructions for the food preparation and cooking process through a single user interface.

The user interface may comprise a gesture recognition system and/or a touch sensitive region of the cooking surface and/or a voice recognition system. These provide different intuitive options, which may be combined in different ways for different types of command. The information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance for example comprises user interface options for the user interface. These options for example comprise one or more of: temperature settings; timing settings; and speed settings.

The user interface may additionally enable interaction with media, gaming and internet access using the display system. This means the user can interact with external data using the cooking system, rather than having to access other remote devices. Thus, the user does not need to touch their mobile phone or tablet with dirty hands. The system may communicate with such external devices, for example to receive a phone call or video call using the cooking system, or it may be used to access general information over the internet independently of other external devices. The system may for example have a wireless communication system (WIFI, Bluetooth....) to communicate with smart devices of the user.

The controller may be adapted to control the display system to provide cooking instructions in respect of a selected recipe. The instructions may evolve to follow the stage reached by the user, based on knowledge of the kitchen appliances that have been used as well as the cooking processes that have already been followed.

The display system may comprise one or more of:

a touch display screen integrated into the cooking surface away from the cooking zone;

a projection display for projecting a display onto the cooking surface;

a display screen remote from the cooking surface.

These different options allow different levels of integration.

The system may further comprise a sensor arrangement for measuring one or more of:

a temperature at the cooking zone;

nutritional information concerning a food item;

weight estimation of a food item;

These sensor inputs enable the cooking process to be automated further and enable additional information to be provided to the user.

Examples in accordance with another aspect of the invention provide a cooking method, comprising:

performing food processing or cooking by:

detecting the presence of a kitchen appliance on an appliance zone of a cooking surface;

The appliance zone and cooking zone may be shared, wherein the method further comprises:

detecting the presence of a cooking vessel or an appliance on the shared cooking zone and appliance zone and then controlling the wireless power transfer or heating accordingly.

The information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance may comprise information about recipes associated with the kitchen appliance.

The method may further comprise interpreting user commands when the user interacts with the cooking system, for example based on gesture recognition and/or touch sensing and/or voice recognition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Examples of the invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 shows a cooking system;

Fig. 2 shows a basic overview of the wireless transfer and inductive heating system;

Fig 3 shows a kitchen appliance being cordlessly powered;

Fig 4 shows a pan being heated by induction;

Fig 5 shows in more detail the various components of the system;

Fig 6 shows a cooking method; and

Fig 7 shows a general computer architecture suitable for implementing the controller. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

The invention provides a cooking system, comprising a cooking surface on which cooking vessels are to be placed for heating and kitchen appliances are to be placed for powering. There is at least one cooking zone which has a heating system for heating of a cooking vessel (for example by inductive heating) and an appliance zone having a wireless power transfer system for wirelessly powering a kitchen appliance at the cooking zone. There is wireless communication with a kitchen appliance at the appliance zone so that it can be identified when a kitchen appliance is present and the type of kitchen appliance can be identified. This wireless communication may for example be made using WiFi, near field communication, Bluetooth or RF communication. The wireless power transfer system is then controlled in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance. Furthermore, information is provided on a display which relates to the identified kitchen appliance. This enables a compact solution which can guide and inform a user throughout the food preparation and the food cooking process.

Fig. 1 shows a cooking system 10, comprising a cooking surface 12 on which cooking vessels are to be placed for heating and kitchen appliances are to be placed for powering. The cooking surface 12 comprises at least one cooking zone 14a, 14b.

Fig. 1 shows two cooking zones 14a, 14b, but at the limit there may be only one. The cooking zones may all be of the same type, namely for heating pots and pans, most preferably using inductive heating cooking based on particular designs of cooking pots or pans. However, the cooking surface may incorporate different types of cooking zone, for example a conventional electric hob for use with any type of pan.

There is thus at least one cooking zone, for example zone 14a, which includes an inductive heating system for inductive heating of a cooking vessel at the cooking zone.

The cooking zone is a zone corresponding to the size of a pan, for example a circular area of diameter between 10 cm and 30 cm.

In the preferred implementation shown and described, the cooking zone 14a with the inductive heating system also includes a wireless power transfer system for wirelessly powering an electrical kitchen appliance at the cooking zone. In this way, the same zone enables use of conventional inductive cooking pans as well as electrical appliances.

This is a preferred compact implementation with dual-function cooking zones, which function both as cooking zones and appliance zones. There may however be separate zones for these two functions, and the inductive heating may be replaced by other hob technologies. The shared zone will be described simply as a cooking zone in the description below.

The system also includes a display system for displaying information to a user. The example shows a touch display 16 and a projection display 18. The touch display is at a region outside the cooking zones for safety reasons. The projection display 18 projects to another region 20. The display system may instead all be of the same type.

There is a wireless communication system for communicating wirelessly with a kitchen appliance at the cooking zone 14a, based on near field communication (NFC). This communication enables the presence of a suitably equipped appliance to be detected, and also enables identification of the appliance. It optionally may also enable control of the settings of the appliance. The NFC communication may be modulated over the wireless power transfer signal or it may be a separate communication channel.

The cooking system also has an input interface for receiving commands from the user. In the example shown, this input is received using the touch display 16. In addition, a gesture recognition system is provided based on cameras 22 and image processing.

A controller 24 controls the inductive heating system, the wireless power transfer system, the display system and the image processing for the gesture recognition.

The controller 24 is used to detect when a pan is present for which inductive heating can be employed. Impedance measurement may be employed to detect that a pan is suitable for induction heating.

It can also detect when a compatible appliance is present based on communication using the near field communication system.

The controller implements communication with a kitchen appliance at the cooking zone using the wireless power transfer system thereby to identify when a kitchen appliance is present and to identify the type of kitchen appliance.

The wireless power transfer system is then controlled in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance and the displayed information also relates to the identified kitchen appliance.

The cooking zone can thus be used either for inductive heating or for wireless power transfer. This enables a compact solution.

Fig. 2 shows a basic overview of the wireless transfer and inductive heating system.

A kitchen appliance 30 comprises a base 32 and a sole 34. The base has a receiver coil 36 and a short range (near field communication) appliance transceiver 38. Beneath the cooking surface 12 is a transmitter coil 40 and inverter 42 which receives power from the mains 44. There is also a cooking surface transceiver 46.

The kitchen appliance for example comprises a blender, mixer, fat fryer, air fryer, kettle, toaster, smoothie maker or any other food preparation or electrical cooking appliance.

The cooking zone is also for receiving a cooking pot or pan which uses inductive heating. The cooking pot or pan may or may not be provided with the short range communication system.

The inductive heating system and the wireless power transfer system use the same transmitter coil 40. This provides the sharing of hardware, making a compact and cost efficient system.

Generally the frequencies required for wireless power transfer and for induction heating are similar as well as the power level range. The wireless power transfer system however has an additional communication channel which allows closed loop control for example of a temperature, pressure, time, or humidity prevailing in the appliance being powered.

Fig. 3 shows a kitchen appliance 30 being electrically powered. The same reference numbers are used as in Fig. 2 for the same components.

The transmitter coil 40 generates a magnetic field 41 which interacts with the receiver coil 36 of the appliance 30. In this example, the received energy is used to operate an electric heating element 52 for heating a vessel 54. In other examples, the received energy is primarily for driving a motor for blending, mixing or whisking.

Fig. 4 shows a pan 60 being heated by induction. The magnetic field 41 induces heating by eddy currents 62 in a sole 64 of the pan 60.

The short range communication system is omitted from Figs. 3 and 4 for simplicity.

Other functions may be incorporated into the system. For example the cooking surface 12 may include a weighing scale as represented schematically as region 50 in Fig. 1. This is based on pressure sensing and it may be incorporated into the functionality of the touch display. It may instead be a separate component of the system. This further brings together all the required functions of the food preparation and cooking process to the cooking surface, making a compact system which is efficient for the user.

The user interface of the system enables the user to interact with the cooking system in order to control the cooking appliances, so that the user does not need to interact directly with the appliances. Functions such as temperature settings, timing settings, and speed settings (e.g. of a blender) may be controlled via the main system user interface.

However, the appliances may themselves retain local control functions.

The system may also make use of voice recognition.

When a user operates the cooking system, information is provided by the display system and optionally also as audio output which assists in the cooking process. This information for example may comprise recipe information, nutritional information, and step- by-step real time instructions. The user interface also enables interaction with information sources which are not related to the particular cooking process, for example general media, gaming and internet access. This means the user can interact with external data using the cooking system, rather than having to access other remote devices. Thus, the user does not need to touch their mobile phone or tablet with dirty hands.

The system may communicate with a user's mobile phone to receive a phone call or video call using the cooking system.

Other sensing functions may also be included, for example for measuring a temperature at the cooking zone or nutritional information concerning a food item.

Fig. 5 shows in more detail the various components of the system 10.

The system comprises a user interface 70 which includes a voice recognition system 72, a gesture recognition system 74, a display system 76 and a speech synthesizer 78. These units all communicate with the main controller 24.

A connectivity unit 80 connects to the internet 82, for example a cloud 84, and it also communicates with other kitchen devices 86 for control of those devices using the cooking system interface (such as extractor fans, lighting, heating etc.), as well as other mobile devices 88 of the user of the system. The connectivity unit may use various protocols such as WIFI, Bluetooth and others.

The other kitchen devices 88 may for example include fridges and freezers. In this way, the system may also manage inventory, and provide shopping list which indicate the ingredients needed for a specific recipe, taking account of the ingredients already available. It may also monitor food expiry information and provide advice as to recipes which may be used to avoid food waste.

The controller 24 also controls the wireless power supply function and inductive heating function 90. There is inductive heating power transfer 94 and data communication 96 using an embedded data channel. There are induction heating pots 60 and cordless kitchen devices 30. If the induction heating pots are provided with the required near field communication capability, the system can also communicate with them using the data channel. If they do not have communications capability, the system may simply provide inductive heating. This may be controlled with temperature feedback.

The controller 24 also controls other more conventional heating plates 98 for conventional pots and pans 100.

Various additional sensors 102 may be provided. There may be other kitchen devices 104 which do not connect to the system.

The system provides a new consumer experience. The gesture recognition enables static and dynamic body recognition and motion detection for seamless, hands free interaction with the kitchen hub and connected devices. The sensing modules for example enable food-related characteristics to be assessed which are not accurately measurable via image analysis like e.g. weight, nutrient content, maturity, edibility. The system may also be used to track total nutritional intake, provide active guidance during cooking processes using image recognition and also incorporate a weighing scale.

In addition to kitchen applications, a variety of home safety systems (door bell, alarm systems), social interaction and gaming applications and other experiences in the kitchen may be enabled.

Some of the various components of the system and their options and advantages will now be discussed further.

The cordless power supply may use an embedded data channel or a separate communication system allowing for bi-directional communication between kitchen devices and the controller of the system. It means cordless kitchen appliances and induction cooking applications can be used without a power plug and cord in the same area, sharing the same hardware and thus allowing for a major space saving as preparation and cooking can be executed in the same area. Device specific content such as a device user interface, recipes, a weighting scale, can be enabled automatically on the cooking surface or on a connected smart device. The data channel means that no additional connectivity module to cordless kitchen devices is needed and hence higher reliability and cost savings.

The display system can be a standalone display next to cooking zone or it might overlap the whole cooking surface i.e. also the working areas. This can provide the user with visual feedback on the status of various devices operated. One option is projection technology, such as micro projector devices providing projection of content directly on a kitchen top, streaming videos, online recipes and also providing a communication hub in the kitchen. Another option is an LED or LCD or alternative flat screen display technology. Dis lays may also be formed on curved surfaces and a 3D screen is also an option.

be streamed directly on the cooking surface without the requirement of additional smart devices hence no pollution of smart device surfaces or washing of hands to operate a remote device. Guided cooking applications and step by step recipe advice can be given during the actual preparation and cooking process by using video streaming in one area of the system while operating devices in other areas.

The system may be programmed with specific recipes, and the system may be used to share user's applications or recipes, or recordings of cooking sessions.

The gesture recognition unit provides the ability to track a person's movements and translate these movements into input for operating devices and digital applications running on the system. Several options for this functionality exist, such as:

integration of an infrared camera system for gesture recognition and control of cordless devices and interaction with system applications;

touch display screen;

gesture recognition camera system.

By the combination and integration of standard sensors like temperature and weight, additional features can be enabled. Touch less temperature sensing and progress control of the cooking process may be enabled by infrared measurements or thermopile temperature sensing, with surface temperature measurement of pans and pots operated by the induction heating function.

The system may allow personalized recipes, for example adjustments to a recipe according to personal profiles, for example preferences, desired calorific intake or medical conditions such as diabetes.

Analysis of nutritional content may be achieved using near infrared or infrared spectroscopy sensing, in order to provide macro nutrient analyzing and recipe advice functions.

The optical camera system (for example used for gesture recognition) may also be used to provide weight estimation based on volume measurement (for example by image processing such as triangulation) and food type detection. Nutrient estimation may then be obtained based on a database look-up based on the identified food types and volumes. Gas or liquid sensors may also be used, such as metal oxide semiconductor (MOx) sensors for detecting volatile organic compounds, to assess maturity and edibility of food ingredients as well as doneness of ingredients cooked.

The system has a software operating system which can operate the various user applications which may be web based and mobile based. These include applications to ensure safe induction cooking and powering of cordless devices, software updates for the system and the kitchen appliances, kitchen appliance specific applications and user interfaces. There may be applications for personal balanced nutrition applications i.e. recipe guidance, and applications for guided cooking experiences.

The system can be formed as a stand-alone kitchen plate, which can be positioned in the home. This kitchen plate may for example be mobile and equipped with a power plug. Alternatively, the system may be built into a kitchen or kitchenette.

The system may be combined with other heating technologies, such as a convection heater and/or a halogen heating hob and/or an infrared heating hob.

Fig. 6 shows a cooking method, comprising, in step 110, detecting the presence of a cooking vessel or a kitchen appliance on a cooking zone of a cooking surface.

If a cooking vessel is detected there is inductive heating of the cooking vessel at the cooking zone in step 112.

If a kitchen appliance is detected, there is communication wirelessly with the kitchen appliance at the cooking zone in step 114, thereby identifying the type of kitchen appliance. In step 116, there is wireless power transfer for wirelessly powering the kitchen appliance. The wireless power transfer system is controlled in dependence on the identified kitchen appliance. For example, it may be controlled by the system to follow a particular cooking or food processing cycle, which may depend on a particular recipe being followed, or be in response to user input provided to the system. The kitchen appliance may also be controlled at the device itself as well as or instead of being controlled by the overall system.

In step 118 there is displaying of information which relates to the identified kitchen appliance.

For a suitably equipped cooking vessel, there may also be communication in step 120.

The system described above makes use of a controller for controlling the system components and for processing input data from the user and the various sensors of the system. Fig. 7 illustrates an example of a computer 130 for implementing the controller 24 described above.

The computer 130 includes, but is not limited to, PCs, workstations, laptops, PDAs, palm devices, servers, storages, and the like. Generally, in terms of hardware architecture, the computer 130 may include one or more processors 131, memory 132, and one or more I/O devices 133 that are communicatively coupled via a local interface (not shown). The local interface can be, for example but not limited to, one or more buses or other wired or wireless connections, as is known in the art. The local interface may have additional elements, such as controllers, buffers (caches), drivers, repeaters, and receivers, to enable communications. Further, the local interface may include address, control, and/or data connections to enable appropriate communications among the aforementioned components.

The processor 131 is a hardware device for executing software that can be stored in the memory 132. The processor 131 can be virtually any custom made or commercially available processor, a central processing unit (CPU), a digital signal processor (DSP), or an auxiliary processor among several processors associated with the computer 130, and the processor 131 may be a semiconductor based microprocessor (in the form of a microchip) or a microprocessor.

The memory 132 can include any one or combination of volatile memory elements (e.g., random access memory (RAM), such as dynamic random access memory (DRAM), static random access memory (SRAM), etc.) and non-volatile memory elements (e.g., ROM, erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM), electronically erasable programmable read only memory (EEPROM), programmable read only memory (PROM), tape, compact disc read only memory (CD-ROM), disk, diskette, cartridge, cassette or the like, etc.). Moreover, the memory 132 may incorporate electronic, magnetic, optical, and/or other types of storage media. Note that the memory 132 can have a distributed architecture, where various components are situated remote from one another, but can be accessed by the processor 131.

The software in the memory 132 may include one or more separate programs, each of which comprises an ordered listing of executable instructions for implementing logical functions. The software in the memory 132 includes a suitable operating system (O/S) 134, compiler 135, source code 136, and one or more applications 137 in accordance with exemplary embodiments. The application 137 comprises numerous functional components such as computational units, logic, functional units, processes, operations, virtual entities, and/or modules.

The operating system 134 controls the execution of computer programs, and provides scheduling, input-output control, file and data management, memory management, and communication control and related services.

Application 137 may be a source program, executable program (object code), script, or any other entity comprising a set of instructions to be performed. When a source program, then the program is usually translated via a compiler (such as the compiler 135), assembler, interpreter, or the like, which may or may not be included within the memory 132, so as to operate properly in connection with the operating system 134. Furthermore, the application 137 can be written as an object oriented programming language, which has classes of data and methods, or a procedure programming language, which has routines, subroutines, and/or functions, for example but not limited to, C, C++, C#, Pascal, BASIC, API calls, HTML, XHTML, XML, ASP scripts, JavaScript, FORTRAN, COBOL, Perl, Java, ADA, .NET, and the like.

The 170 devices 133 may include input devices such as, for example but not limited to, a mouse, keyboard, scanner, microphone, camera, etc. Furthermore, the I/O devices 133 may also include output devices, for example but not limited to a printer, display, etc. Finally, the I/O devices 133 may further include devices that communicate both inputs and outputs, for instance but not limited to, a network interface controller (NIC) or modulator/demodulator (for accessing remote devices, other files, devices, systems, or a network), a radio frequency (RF) or other transceiver, a telephonic interface, a bridge, a router, etc. The I/O devices 133 also include components for communicating over various networks, such as the Internet or intranet.

When the computer 130 is in operation, the processor 131 is configured to execute software stored within the memory 132, to communicate data to and from the memory 132, and to generally control operations of the computer 130 pursuant to the software. The application 137 and the operating system 134 are read, in whole or in part, by the processor 131, perhaps buffered within the processor 131, and then executed.

When the application 137 is implemented in software it should be noted that the application 137 can be stored on virtually any computer readable medium for use by or in connection with any computer related system or method. In the context of this document, a computer readable medium may be an electronic, magnetic, optical, or other physical device or means that can contain or store a computer program for use by or in connection with a computer related system or method.

Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measured cannot be used to advantage.

Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope.