Toasters will end up shopping us to the man if we’re not careful. Here’s a brief guide to the slow rise of these bread-burning back stabbers.
According to internet ‘humour’ site Uncyclopedia, Internet Toasters have been the tech equivalent of landing on the moon since the early golden age of t’internet in the 90’s.
The first notable connected toaster effort was made by John Romkey and Simon Hackett. This enterprising duo unleashed their internet-powered Sunbeam Deluxe Automatic Radiant Control Toaster at the 1990 Interop show.
The toasting ‘control’ was pretty crude; the colour of the bread depended on how long the toaster remained connected to the web. There was one control, an SNMP MIB, which simply served to turn the power on. A year later, a simple robotic claw was added, removing the need for human intervention.
Fast forward to 2001 and Brunel student Robin Southgate develops a toaster that could burn a morning weather report onto a slice of bread. Gathering meteorological info from the internet, the toaster would burn ideograms of a sun, a cloud or rainfall.
In 2007, students at Olin College, MA in the US took the idea a step further and rigged up a CNC toaster, essentially a blow torch with an XY axis. It seemed to be lacking the crucial ‘internet’ part, but is a worth mention in our chronicle nonetheless.
A year later and Electrolux had unleashed a more sophisticated toaster. As a concept, the Electrolux toaster would never be released. But it took Southgate’s weather report idea and ran with it; hundreds of tiny heating elements would print out a more detailed weather report or the front page of your favourite newspaper on your breakfast.
On the 1st of April 2009 the BBC unveiled iPlayer Toaster Edition; a toaster with a 7-inch touchscreen on its side.
Of all of the main mobile manufacturers its LG that seems keenest to usher in the age of toaster totalitarianism. The LG LTM9000 is a combination microwave-toaster that launched in the US. Though not a connected toaster per se, it’s easy to see where LG is going; the Smart Manager fridge and the Smart ThinQ range will inevitable include a toaster at some point.