Check Out NXP’s Presence-Sensing Cooktop Demo Powered by On-Chip AI

We’re still sifting through some of the cool product demos from CES last month, and one that caught my eye was the demo by NXP of a presence-sensing cooktop powered by an embedded MCU. According to the company, the system used a Neural Processing Unit that runs the machine learning and facial-recognition algorithms within the system rather than relying on a cloud-based compute. The demo featured a device control interface from Diehl Controls.

As can be seen in the video below (taken by TIRIAS Research Principal Analyst Francis Sideco), NXP spokesperson Thomas Herbert shows that you can turn on the burner with either touch or motion sensing (including motion sensing with cooking mitts on). From there, the system is using facial recognition to detect if a person is within local proximity of the cooktop. According to Herbert, presence detection comes into play in a scenario where there is a critical state, such as the pan getting too hot and there is water boiling over. If the system detects a critical state and no one is standing around the stove, it will shut off the heat and can send an alert to the person via a Matter (an open-source smart home connectivity standard) enabled device to alert the cook that the system has intervened on their behalf.

The demo is interesting to me in a couple of contexts. One is that, as we’ve written about here on the Spoon, the number one reason for fires in the home is due to cooking mishaps, and enabling your stovetop or other cooking appliances to recognize both anomalies as well as the presence of someone could be a real gamechanger, akin to the dip in automobile accidents in recent years due to the widespread prevalence of blindspot detection systems in modern cars.

The second context that’s interesting is that it could become a significant technology in assisting aging-in-place scenarios, particularly for seniors who become a little more forgetful as they age. One of the key determinants of whether folks can continue to live independently is their ability to feed themselves, and by providing “blind spot” detection like this, my guess is this could extend many seniors’ ability to live independently for years.

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