Anova Precision Cooker Voice Integration!

I’ve been busy in the last few months playing with some new toys.

For Christmas I got a much wanted Anova Precision Cooker with Wifi, and on the 4th of January I received an Amazon Echo Dot. Since I am a massive nerd, by the 9th of January I was able to control my Precision Cooker via an Alexa skill, and posted about it to reddit.

A lot of reddit’s Precision Cooker owners were quite excited about this, and I got a lot of fantastic feedback from the /r/sousvide community about how I might improve the skill. Bill, one of Anova’s community managers, reached out a day later and put me in touch with Anova’s software development team. I was quite excited to be given the opportunity to help develop the official Alexa skill!

We’re going to release the skill this month, but are currently still testing.

Here’s a bunch of test videos showing some of the things you’ll be able to do with the skill:

General control

This lets you:

  • run a cook
  • raise and lower the temp
  • check the status of your cook
  • see how long is left on the timer
  • ask how long you’ve already been cooking for
  • change the timer
  • stop the cook
  • silence the alarm

Run an ice bath!

This feature (which as you can see in the test video can be problematic for us Australians) allows you to keep your food cold enough to be out of the “danger zone“, so that you can start a cook later, remotely. For instance, in the morning you could start an ice bath, put your food in the ice bath and leave for work. At 2PM you could start a 4 hour cook to be finished by the time you get home at 6PM.

The ice bath works by circulating the ice water for a few seconds at regular intervals. If your water exceeds the threshold 40 degrees Fahrenheit/4.44 degrees Celsius, the ice bath job will stop, and the app will alert you. This would be a good time to begin your cook, so your food doesn’t spoil.

Search recipes!

This lets you quickly find temps and times for various foods. The actual speech output you hear in this video (and all the others) will be different upon release, as we are still working towards a good balance between level of detail and the time it takes to deliver it. We’re also hoping to add something like a notification into the app which lets you access the recipe you just selected, though this may not be implemented immediately upon release.

The recipe search functionality also goes hand in hand with the “guided cook” functionality, that allows you to access the “guide” data from the app via the Alexa skill, except we also allow thickness variations in the Alexa skill!

Some of you may have noticed that in this video Alexa says she is going to cook for 40 minutes, then proceeds to set an hour. I only noticed this yesterday, but it is now fixed! The kitty in the video is named Bear, and he knows that sometimes food falls onto the floor when I’m cooking. =^.^=

That’s the majority of the more exciting functionality we’ve so far implemented.

We will also be adding the same functionality to Google Home in the near future!

Amazon Echo?

If you don’t currently have an Amazon Echo, they are basically a family of devices that allow you to do a lot of stuff by voice, and the home automation community love them. I use mine around the house to turn on the TV, turn on the lights, check if my doors are open or closed, and all sorts of other stuff.

However, if you have no interest in home automation, Amazon Echo is great for the home kitchen:

  • Convert units
    • Alexa, what is 200 degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius?
    • Alexa, how many tablespoons in a cup?
  • Count calories
    • Alexa, how many calories in flour?
  • Set timers
    • Alexa, set a timer for 45 minutes
    • Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minutes
    • Alexa, how long left on my timers?
  • Manage your shopping list
    • Alexa, add kitchen towel to my shopping list
  • Control your Anova Precision Cooker!

When you have your hands full, Alexa is a big help.

About me

  • I’m from Melbourne, Australia
  • I love cooking as I find it relaxing
  • My favourite kitchen gadgets are (in no particular order) my:
    • KitchenAid
    • Alexa
    • Anova
    • Thermapen Mk4
    • This thing (seriously, I use it to stir all kinds of stuff and it cost like $2)

If you have any questions, suggestions, thoughts or feelings, please let me know!

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