Food News

Will This Large, Vibrating Egg Become Your Home-Cooking Sidekick?

January  5, 2017

Yesterday, at the Consumer Electronics Show (also known as CES), an annual Vegas gala showcasing the latest in the forever-changing world of the Internet of Things, Delaware-based startup RnD64 introduced Hello Egg to the world. Hello Egg is a voice-activated, artificial intelligence kitchen assistant. Think of it as Alexa for the home cooking set. It looks like a Minion draped in black with a cyclopian blinking eye. The site for Hello Egg professes that this eight-inch ovular hunk will be “your home-cooking sidekick”; it also claims that Hello Egg “liberates you from the throes of mundane decision-making and frees up an extra day off for you each month.” (The promise of a day off comes with an asterisk that goes unexplained on the website.)

Operating under the assumption that cooking is a real slog, especially for us precious millennials ("Hello Egg is reintroducing home cooking to the modern millennial's life," the press release reads), Hello Egg, along with its web-based and smartphone app Eggspert, offers a three-tiered system. Users plan their weekly meals according to dietary preferences. Are you vegan? Gluten-free? Lactose intolerant? A dog? (There's a dog on the website!) Hello Egg will cater to you. It organizes users' shopping lists, ordering produce to be delivered straight to them. Then, it provides users with “easy-to-follow, step-by-step, voice-navigated video recipes." If you screw up, it's fine. Hello Egg has a cadre of cooking experts for its 24/7 support staff.

Hm. Sounds like a lot of steps to me, especially for a product that promises ease and simplification. If Hello Egg's official website doesn’t totally explain the intricacies of this product, a promo video from a few months back offers some clarity. Watch for yourself:

Does this make sense now? This sleek, animatronic egg will relay cooking instructions to you as you prep for your meal. And the egg, that bon vivant, will keep “a lively conversation going expressing itself through looks and winks.” Just what I want for a cooking companion. This artificially intelligent egg reads newspapers, forecasts your weather, streams music, but never at the expense of convenience. It still sets timers for your food!

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Hello Egg has received boosterish press from tech media in the past 24 hours, with few expressing caution at its necessity or adoptability. For anything close to skepticism, you’d have to go back to last September to coverage from The Verge, Vox Media’s tech website, which wondered what true cooking innovations Hello Egg had to offer that didn’t already exist in books and techniques that people have followed for years. Maybe a winking egg is better than having another female voice for an AI assistant, a rather unbecoming trend that conflates femininity with domesticity. Hello Egg swears to do "much more than you can expect form your smart home assistant.” As for me? I’ve never had a smart home assistant, so I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Hello Egg starts shipping in February. It’s currently available for preorder. Would you use one?

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8 Comments

Amy P. January 9, 2017
"better than having another female voice for an AI assistant, a rather unbecoming trend that conflates femininity with domesticity" - I hadn't really thought about this except for vaguely when my dad got all cringy about the fact that Siri could now talk to him in a male voice and he firmly told me to keep it on the female one. I didn't really think about it then either, but it's a good point. Maybe I'll switch to the male voice for a bit just for kicks!
 
Smaug January 6, 2017
Given the effect that humanity's ongoing attempt to avoid any sort of physical activity has accomplished in the few decades of industrial revolution (widespread obesity, diabetes, inability to perform-or even conceptualize- simple tasks etc.), one has to wonder what effect our current efforts to avoid any sort of mental activity will have in a century or so.
 
Nancy January 6, 2017
Fun article, but no thanks. A timer and recipe collection making [programmed, fake] conversation? Ugh.<br />Meanwhile, an editorial suggestion - you can do better at choosing a photo that relates to the story. I found no technological egg in the cover photo. Later, thinking about it, I think this same photo was used for the "one pot pasta" story. Pretty, but misleading here.
 
Veggielover January 5, 2017
It looks like that egg-thingy from "The Dome"! Naaa...I'll stick with my cookbooks and my iPad!
 
ChefJune January 5, 2017
If it's one-tenth as irritating as Siri, no thanks! The only thing I'd like along with me in the kitchen is another pair of hands!
 
Kenzi W. January 5, 2017
Touché. :)
 
umbrellanaut January 5, 2017
I sort of like the idea of hands-free / voice activated tech for use in the kitchen, as I typically use my phone or laptop for looking at recipes while I cook, and those invariably end up with a nice layer of grease all over them as a result. I don't think I'd get a dedicated device for this purpose though; this is something that already exists as an app for smartwatches (though maybe not yet with the produce-ordering and eye-blinking capabilities) and I imagine also for phones / laptops if I could be bothered to spend the time looking.
 
Matt H. January 5, 2017
Interesting, this almost sounds exactly like something Alexa could do in the future. I wonder if the company is creating this product in the hopes of having Amazon buy them out in the future, when Amazon decides that they want Alexa to have this functionality.