SCIENCE

New 'Heat Map' Microwave Shows Your Food Change Color As It Cooks

02/12/2015 10:47 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2015

You've never seen a microwave quite like this before.

A new infrared microwave has been designed to show your food "changing color" on a heat map, allowing you to monitor when a meal is completely cooked. For instance, just watch the video above at the 1:10 mark to see what a color-changing frozen burrito would look like. You're welcome.

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A frozen burrito cooking in a microwave.

"It's really hard to guess the cooking time on a frozen burrito," Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer who has created a prototype of the microwave and patented the concept, says in the video. "Basically, unless you stop the microwave and pull your food out to inspect, there's no way to tell if it's done just right. So as humans, we rely primarily on our sense of sight. So it would be so much better if we could be like the predator and just glance over and see the temperature of our food to tell if it was done, and the amazing news is that is possible now."

How does the microwave work exactly? An infrared camera is attached to the top of the inside of the machine, monitoring the food being cooked. Meanwhile, the front of the outside of the microwave is a screen, displaying a heat map of what the inside camera is filming.

As the food cooks, it starts out blue while it's cold, and works its way to red as it heats up. Finally, once the food is heated throughout, it transitions from red to white.

Bon appétit!

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