Elecrolux's Inspiro oven launches this week, using technology that could be the future of cooking. Using a heat management technique rather like auto focus on a camera, the Inspiro's sensors first analyze what is to be cooked before calculating the temperature and time needed. The company's CEO, Hans Stråberg, likens it to the way cameras now automatically set aperture, exposure time and focus, depending on the light and what's in the frame.
This sounds suspiciously like the Panasonic Genius microwave ovens from the 1980's. These ovens had a humidity sensor that determined cooking times based on how long it took to trip the sensor. This worked quite well for some things, like cooking vegetables. However people tend not to use these things after a while, as they are hit-or-miss.
And like everything else, our knowledge and cooking techniques evolve over time, whereas these helpful intelligences are generally frozen in time and don't evolve along with us. There are also many ways to bake and not just one "perfect" way...I can think of 4 or 5 different baking techniques I use for bread, all with different times and temperatures, steam/no steam, baking stone, convection or no convection...
Just the same, there seems to be a renewed market interest in the mundane kitchen range, and it is very interesting to see how manufacturers are interpreting their market research.