Back in about 2001 we came up with the idea of adding a computer to our kitchen. We were just starting to experiment with the concept of a multi-media pc for storing music on and the idea of adding computers to our house left right and center (including the kitchen) seemed like an obvious extension of that train of thought. The big question was how to do it? At the time, most kitchen designers suggested incorporating a desk into your kitchen. This is actually still the most common advice, even though anyone who has used one knows the difference between a home office that happens to be in your kitchen and a real kitchen computer...
A kitchen computer cannot simply be a television, or something with a defined interface such as MSN TV or the ill-fated 3Com Audrey.
Sure in principle the idea was straightforward. After all, Honeywell had come up with the idea in the 1960's. The problem with their implementation was that it lacked WAF. WAF for the un-initiated is the all important Wife Acceptance Factor. As most married guys can attest the WAF of a particular project can make the critical difference between an idea staying on the drawing board and becoming reality. Now, Honeywell may have had a great idea but they sure lacked in the WAF department. Nobody wants to stick a giant honking dohicky in the middle of their kitchen regardless of how cool it may be in principle.
So doing a little research we found that a few people had tried to make the kitchen PC work (and were brave enough to publicize their efforts).
Microsoft had done a demo using a projector to display an image on a counter top (technicially and practially too complicated - not to mention that you can't then use said counter if you want to be able to read what is being displayed). Nearly a decade later, the technology may be featured in Disneyland's "dream home" but it doesn't seem any more practical to use in a kitchen with limited counter space.
Some guy had built a PC into a toaster (much better on the WAF but still needed a keyboard, mouse and monitor on the counter taking up space).
And of course there is the screw the laptop to the wall (Yeah, you got it, not so high on the WAF scale).
What we obviously needed was a new approach. Looking around the kitchen we noticed that the space above the stove seemed rather poorly used. There was a good sized chunk of wall space just sitting there doing nothing. Hmm... Okay so let's say we put a monitor there. What about the computer? Eyes travel upwards about a foot... Note range hood = power... Note cupboard that my wife can't really reach anyway... Eureka!
After endless making fun of poor Brendan about his crazy idea for a computer in the kitchen pretty much everybody now agrees that it has got to be one of the coolest things they have ever seen.