The year: Sometime between 2025 and 2045.

The place: A new high-end subdivision (or custom home showroom) near you.

The sales pitch:

This home is great for entertaining. It has a complete iKitchenᵀᴹ and iPantryᵀᴹ. The iKitchen can cook gourmet meals from scratch -- everything from appetizers to a complete Thanksgiving feast. It has thousands of recipes, including the complete Joy of iCookingᵀᴹ. And it cleans up after itself. It sanitizes all of the prep surfaces before and after preparing every meal. It loads the dishwasher automatically. It even puts away the dishes!

My question: How does it put away the dishes? What kinds of device(s) or attachment(s) does it use to put away the dishes? Where does it store the device(s) or attachment(s)? Does it need special cabinets or drawers to put the dishes in?


  • By "dishes", I mean all of the cooking tools that are designed to be washed in a dishwasher, plus the plates and flatware used for serving the meal.
  • The device(s) or attachment(s) that put away the dishes need to be sanitized regularly, perhaps by washing them in the dishwasher.
  • The iKitchen equipment does not need to go outside of the kitchen/pantry/butler's pantry. (A "butler's pantry" is an old-fashioned space between a kitchen and a dining room, where food and dishes are transferred from the kitchen to the dining area. In many modern homes, a kitchen island or a side table in the dining room is used for this purpose.)
  • It is OK for the iKitchen to assume that dirty dishes will be brought back (probably by humans) from other rooms to a "dirty dish place". The "dirty dish place" might be a counter, or perhaps a convenient dishwasher rack.
  • The iKitchen will make sure that any "dishes" that the iKitchen dirties and keeps within the iKitchen get washed without human intervention.
  • Ignoring the cost of ordinary walls, floors, windows, and doors, the complete iKitchen and iPantry should not cost more than a new Tesla (roughly 40,000 - 100,000 U.S. Dollars, adjusted for non-electronics price inflation since 2015).
  • All products need to be covered by at least a 12-month parts-and-labor warranty when used for typical single-family residential purposes. The warranty can be provided by the manufacturer and/or the installation subcontractor. The warranty does not need to cover abuse.
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Is there any reason why your iKitchen wouldn't just be a big block with a single access hatch to take out meals and to put in dirty trays? $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:33
  • 15
    $\begingroup$ @Jasper if the iKitchen can manipulate ingredients and pans in a sufficiently dexterous way to cook a meal from scratch why would it not be able to load and unload a dishwasher? $\endgroup$
    – Whinja
    Jan 16, 2017 at 15:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Will the iKitchen also need to be usable by humans? If so, that is a VERY different design than one that is ONLY automatic. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2017 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2017 at 2:34

17 Answers 17


One possibility is to avoid the problem entirely by making the place you store the dishes also be dishwashers. So you put dirty silverware in the silverware drawer, and clean silverware comes out. The drawer detects dirty silverware and washes them automatically. The cupboard where you store your plates and bowls also washes those plates and bowls if they are dirty. The cupboard where you store your pots and pans cupboard also scrubs and washes those pots and pans.

If you take it a step further, you don't deal with the storage at all. You stick your dirty dishes in a machine. The machine washes them, sorts them, and stores them inside itself. Next time your kitchen makes a meal, it knows exactly what dishes you will need and the machine provides them for you. The washing, storage, and retrieval would all happen on belts behind-the-scenes.

  • 14
    $\begingroup$ Basically a hi-tech version of "leave your dishes in the drier"? $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 13:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ use a dishwasher with two compartments. the dirty stuff goes in one, while the clean one stores them $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Innovine: I used to have a F&P DishDrawer system that worked exactly like that. Pull clean dishes from one, set the table, afterwards put the dirty dishes in the other one. $\endgroup$
    – TMN
    Jan 16, 2017 at 20:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This could be furthered by just leaving the items on the table. When you're done eating the items are stored inside the table, cleaned, stacked and allotted when the next meal is required ... possibly by voice command. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Jan 18, 2017 at 13:31

Why wash anything? An improvement in the quality of biodegradable plastics means that you can throw out your cutlery and crockery at the end of every meal! You get more space in your kitchen for other stuff, because you don't need to waste space on all those cupboards full of plates that only get used a few times a day. But where do the utensils you need come from? They are 3D printed as your meal cooks, so your gourmet meal always comes with the right tools. You'll always have a steak knife with your steaks, sweetcorn forks with your sweetcorn, chopsticks with your Asian cuisine and eggcups for your dippy eggs.

This, minus the magic robot kitchen, and with clay instead of plastic, is what already happens every day today in Calcutta - tens of thousands of clay cups are made every day, sold full of tea, and then thrown in the gutter, where they disintegrate back into the soil.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There was an old 50's era video from Disney about the "home of tomorrow" where there was a vacuum forming plate dispenser in the bottom of the cupboard which produced new plastic plates on demand, and you just threw them out when you were done with them. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ There are already knives and forks you can simply eat after the meal. bakeys.com you could probably make dishes out of similar stuff too. $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Jan 16, 2017 at 13:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Innovine if it comes to that, bread was used as a plate for centuries. I'm not convinced by the idea of edible cutlery for gourmet meals though, I don't think I could be convinced to eat my steak knife or fork, too many sharp bits. I'm happy to be proved wrong, though. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 13:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @argumentbargument we aren't talking gourmet meals here, we're talking someones daily kitchen. Many meals, like rice, potatoes, pastas, soups, stews etc dont require sharp steel. Steak is a planet-killing luxury the future generations won't generally afford (it'll be frowned upon like foi gras I bet). Recycling and sustainable living is constantly growing in popularity, so this is a very plausable scenario. I can even imagine resturants priding themselves on how 'green' they are, using this as a feature. $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They don't necessarily need to bio-degrade—used utensils could go back into the hopper to be melted into the material from which the next set will print. $\endgroup$
    – 1006a
    Jan 16, 2017 at 22:37

Within that time period, we should expect classic sci-fi robots to be a reality. The humanoid kitchen robot has hands like ours, a height and reach like us, so can use tools and work areas designed for us. It will use the pots and pans, the stove, the sink, etc. and asking how it puts dishes away is just a no-brainer.

robot From this article in Popular Science.


But what if a robot, after a long dinner party, could bus the table and head to the sink? Now there's a relationship we can build on. Japan's HRP-2 humanoid 'bot, pictured here, has learned to do just that.

So that’s already real. See the linked article for a whole set of awesome photos.

  • $\begingroup$ Imagine having to clean the mildew from the joints...! $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Jan 18, 2017 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe they clean each other. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 18, 2017 at 15:57

I'm assuming your question is focused on the USA and maybe other first-world nations. There's some big cultural differences that would shift this question considerably.

Home cooking is becoming increasingly rare in the USA. New homes don't always have ovens as the microwave suffices, and within cities, eating out for every meal has grown steadily more viable over the years. It can even be done healthily in big cities with more than just fast food restaurants. Price is a bit high but has been steadily falling for over a decade.

Couple that with Uber/Lyft/TaskRabbit, etc -- in my city (one of those tech hubs) many (are we to most yet? No idea but it wouldn't surprise me) restaurants that used to be dine-in only couple with a delivery service.

It honestly would not surprise me if by 2040, new homes stopped having kitchens, period. It will depend upon the level of delivery automation, but that's been moving along a lot faster than I had predicted just two years ago. If we do have kitchens, they may well be joint ventures with a whole subdivision, like the pool or park in an HOA.

So, in summary... your "iPantry" will cost the same price as Amazon Prime does that year. And iKitchen will be the name of a neighborhood restaurant where you dine out (and given the lower case i, it may be a bit pricy).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I expect that the iPantry would involve a subscription to Amazon Prime, with automatic re-ordering / pre-ordering of food that is used or thrown out. I expect that it would use Amazon Prime to stock a physical pantry, in case of unexpected munchie attacks by the residents, or in case bad weather (or other problems) interrupt Amazon Prime deliveries. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 16, 2017 at 6:12
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Even with the availability of restaurant food and microwaves, there is an increasingly large market for "gourmet" or "professional" kitchens. A major reason that many people buy "custom" or "remodelled" homes is to get such kitchens. I do not expect this trend to go away in the next generation. To put numbers on it, suppose that 100,000 American households per year would be willing to pay an incremental $ 50,000 (financed via mortgage) to have an iKitchen and iPantry. That is a tiny fraction of the U.S. population, but a substantial fraction of the new homes built each year. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 16, 2017 at 6:22
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @Jasper You might be right. Check back in 20 years. If you're right, you can make me dinner. If I'm right, I'll take you out somewhere nice. :-) $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SRM - you are assuming that everywhere is a city. As soon as you live outside the major cities, cooking at home is something that even if you don't do it daily, you definitely always want to have available. I just moved into the countryside and it's a big change for me that there are basically 3 or 4 restaurants within easy driving distance and a whooping one pizza service to order from. Even though I don't cook much, I would buy such a kitchen immediately, if it were available and affordable. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Jan 16, 2017 at 12:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Home cooking may be increasingly rare, but obese americans is increasingly common. It is not a sustainable trend. $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:48

Why not check with google - we already have concept for this. Kitchen would be behind glass, where robotic arms to all the job:


It is safe to assume it has an hole where it puts out dish with food and where you put back empty dish. Program can then recognise what it is (like plate, cup, fork, etc..) and move it to designated location in dishwasher and after it has been cleaned it can be moved to it's place.

You could probably remove the glass from the picture and have those arm retractable, but you would still probably be restricted in having the preprogrammed type of kitchen items so it knows where it has to put it away. Also you could add 3D scanner for people to add new items and designate default locations for items so that robotic arms can pick it up later and put it away.

  • $\begingroup$ Ooops! Butter claws! $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Jan 18, 2017 at 13:35

Fresh food, fresh dishes

Why not go all the way and expect the kitchen to make new dishes and utensils for every meal? It can 3d-print them from a degradable material, customizing the shape for whatever best fits the meal. Yes, there's some waste involved, but the target audience of iKitchen can afford that.

  • $\begingroup$ This is famously one of the failed predictions of magazines in the 50s for the year 2000. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ you can make them out of edible material. bakeys.com $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Jan 16, 2017 at 13:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not sure I'd want to accidentally chomp the tines off my fork halfway through a meal, and have to stop eating and wait while a new fork is fabricated. $\endgroup$
    – flith
    Jan 17, 2017 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ The silverware should be degradable - biodegradable! If you engineer forks and knives out of candy and chocolate, at least you can give the kids a plausible reason why they should eat dessert after the other stuff. $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2022 at 19:06

First things first: All dishes must be ikitchen dishes and cookware.

This is because the system will likely be built to handle specific weights and will be less likely to malfunction if dishes are a specific size and programmed to go into a specific place, sized for being put away there.

All cabinets must be icabinets

Within the cabinets will likely be outlines where the dishes go. If anyone puts a dish in the wrong place, the automated system will likely malfunction, or break a dish, because it doesn't expect something like, say, a glass to be where the dinner platters should be, the glass will likely get smashed. But more likely, dishes won't even be directly accessible by people, and might be just an automated system that puts dishes out (see the link in the bottom of this answer for a vid of how they might be stored.)

Putting the Dishes Away

1) The best suggestion on here is simply that once the dishwasher is loaded, it is well-dried, then the entire dishwasher box is sent to a different area of the kitchen--which will be where you get the dishes from when you eat. The dish washer can below and will rotate up, using a gear system and the lower deck is the dirty dishes.

2) All the dishes are sent on a track behind the cabinets. Their weight and size tells the system where they will go. Putting things away, or even taking them out, can work like an old fashioned jukebox placing records down.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are other good reasons for all of the dishes to be iKitchen dishes and cookware. Induction cooktops can only be used with certain kinds of pots and pans. The exact materials and sizes of the pots and pans affect the cooking times. Avoiding teflon-like "non-stick" cookware prevents accidentally scratching off the "non-stick" surface, and accidentally burning up the teflon. The iKitchen can more easily recognize which proprietary dishes and cookware are microwave-safe and/or oven-safe. The iKitchen might be able to notice if a proprietary item has broken, and order a replacement. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 16, 2017 at 18:49

It loads the dishwasher automatically. It even puts away the dishes!

This doesn't seem to match how iThings work. I would expect an iKitchen to have an order interface (maybe in a smart phone app or a tablet), a serving place, and a dirty dish return. Cupboards? Dishwasher? All hidden behind the simple interface. I wouldn't describe it as loading the dishwasher or putting away the dishes. You (or the server) put away the dishes in the dirty dish return. It processes the dishes.


Freshly cooked food comes out on sani-cleaned dishes. Dirty dishes go in the patented return and are cleaned and fully sanitized for you! All you provide is the hungry stomach. Just tell the iKitchen what you want, and it will handle everything else. Or choose one of our diet plans and we'll pick a tasty, nutritionally-balanced option for you!

That fits more with what I would expect from an iDevice: a simple interface that hides the complexity from the user. Dirty dishes go in one slot; clean dishes loaded with food come out another.

You could even have a mobile device like a cart. Fresh food is on the top of the cart. Dirty dishes go on the bottom. It trundles around the kitchen table. People dump their dirty dishes and grab the next course when ready. It gathers more food and dumps off dirty dishes as needed.

An android waiter might be a future alternative to the cart.


Well, this is already possible using today's technology and might even fall into your desired budged. Basically all you need classic industrial robot arm, which mounted on a tracks, which run along the kitchen floor or ceiling. Note, that robot arm should be equipped with such grabbing device, that it could pickup plates and other dishes.

When you have that setup you just simply set the zone for plate dropoff and connect robot with dishwasher.

Regarding dishwasher - forget about classical consumer design we use today as it is not most optimal type to be used with robot arm. For bowls, plates, glasses, etc... the preferred design would be probably conveyor belt washing machine. As for cleaning spoons, mixing tools and other equipment mostly used by cooking robot, i'd go with something like CNC magazine with high-pressure water nozzles type washing machine.

  • $\begingroup$ It's not possible with today's technology--we don't have the vision algorithms to direct the robot arm to pick up the dishes with high reliability. Pick up one dish, sure. Pick up the top dish of a pile of dishes, not so good. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Can't really agree with that. We can make our robot arms pickup different but still similar enough parts which are randomly placed on single conveyor belt or pallet. Of course we have to set them a region from where to do pickups and there is a lot of tuning in the beginning, but once that's done, the success rate at that part of process is practically 100%. No dropped or forgotten parts on belts and pallets. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Randomly placed, yes. I'm specifically talking about a pile of items--that's the problem that AFIAK remains unsolved. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2017 at 22:45

There are no dishes: the "pits" for eating are on the table, and self-cleaning. Maximum time and energy save provided with this solution. Forks, Spoons and Knives are placed in a smaller pit.

  • No need to spend energy moving the dishes.
  • No need to have a Sink which have flowing water (moving water requires energy, also we usually waste too much water by opening closing the tap too early or too late).
  • No need to search for dishes: save time.
  • This solution is more cheaper than classical kitchen room because of Eco-Incentives provided by countries (even if it has more technology inside).
  • The cooking pit also have self-cleaning.
  • Cooking pit is directly connected to organic waste exit: it is known that most people don't do waste differentiation.
  • There is much less space used in the kitchen, allowing for more living space, or allowing smaller kitchens.

Insight: - The washing works by insetting the dishes below the table, they are moved to the center and washed by a machine identical to dishwashers. Cold water is drained directly into sewers (or into water recycling circuit), Warm water is drained into pipes below the floor to increase home's energy efficiency (heat is returned back to floor, where it flows up to the ceiling).


There is a Flying drone that regularly check for "dish-like" items, it is trained with image recognition to take dishes and put them in a dishwasher. However it is know this is not a eco-friendly solution

  • Most robots cannot efficiently fill the dishwasher (which turns out to works almost empty).
  • You use much more energy just to keep operative the Flying drone.
  • Small accidents of drones putting to washing wrong items are known. (especially high-tech, not waterproff items that resemble in the shape a dish).

You've specified that the dishes will be washed in a dishwasher, which means that at that point they are in a known location (and a known configuration) which will allow for easy relocation.

You don't specify whether the dishes used by the iKitchen will also need to be accessible to humans. If this isn't the case then you can just make the dishwasher big enough to hold all the dishes, and you'll never have to relocate them at all. Just pull them out when you need them. This doesn't require too much in the way of space, because you gain the space where you would have stored the dishes otherwise.

If the iKitchen needs to allow for the possibility that humans might want to retrieve dishes themselves, then accessible storage is more important. In this case, you might want to make use of a conveyor belt system. It would resemble a sushi restaurant's system (because in such a luxury item, image is everything) but have the function of a postal distribution centre, with the ability to direct specific items off onto little sub-belts. Needless to say, this option has far more points of failure, though it is still preferable to large mechanical arms swinging around the kitchen.

The real problem, however, is actually how to collect the dishes in the first place. While the iKitchen will know the location of items within its system, once it serves these items to a human being then all bets are off. The iKitchen will need to have a system which can traverse the various rooms of the house (without disturbing the resident humans), recognise dishes (specifically dishes which the human has finished using), and bring these back to the dishwasher. I assume this is what you mean when you say it will load the dishwasher itself.

This is a massive challenge, and one that I can only see being accomplished by an iRobotButler -- or at the very least, an iDrone. However, if you go down this route then you may as well go the whole hog and have the iRobotButler put the dishes away after they've been washed.

  • $\begingroup$ The iKitchen equipment does not need to go outside of the kitchen/pantry/butler's pantry. It is OK for the iKitchen to assume that dirty dishes will be brought back (probably by humans) from other rooms to a "dirty dish place". The "dirty dish place" might be a counter, or perhaps a convenient dishwasher rack. The system will make sure that any "dishes" that the system dirties within the kitchen get washed without human intervention. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Jasper That would make the system much more manageable and reliable. My answer also didn't take into account that the iKitchen must have a retrieval system so that it can use the clean dishes, and therefore the problem of human accessibility goes away because the human could just ask the iKitchen to give them a particular utensil. Therefore there is no real downside to storing everything in the dishwasher, which another answer described more fully. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Smith
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:14

Thank you to everyone who participated in this Q&A. I have taken many of your ideas, and included them in this answer. The features sections (below) cite your suggestions.

Use a Moley two-handed, ceiling mounted kitchen robot to handle the dishes and cooking implements. Use iKitchen dishes, cooking implements, and custom cabinets. Use an oversized silicone suction cup to gently pick up / put down the top items in stacks of plates and dishes. Use a fast commercial dishwasher and a set of racks. These dishwashers have a three-minute cycle time, a 180°F sanitizing rinse, and automatic drying.

When the iKitchen has prepared the food, it puts it in a "butler's pantry"; humans take the food from the butler's pantry to the dining room. When the humans are done eating, they return the dirty dishes to a dishwasher rack in the butler's pantry.

When the robot is not cooking, it tucks itself up out of the way. A human can cook in the kitchen, as long as they make sure that the robot's work areas are clear before the robot needs to start cooking. "Seasoning to taste" can be done via sliders on a touch-screen app.

The whole system can be built and installed within the proposed budget.

Total cost
I come up with a hard cost of $ 50,000 - 60,000 (not including "the cost of ordinary walls, floors, windows, and doors"). Some of these prices are based on Seattle-area construction costs; others use on-line prices or a want-to-be manufacturer's hoped-for price estimate. After adding in taxes, project management costs, and other contractor markup, the iPantry and iKitchen might add 70,000 - 90,000 dollars to the cost of a house. I am sure people will come up with ways to increase or decrease these cost estimates.

Effect on House Design
Because most of the cooking in the iKitchen is done by a robot, the kitchen layout can be simplified. For example, there do not need to be windows over the sink, nor near the stove. This allows a linear, one-wall kitchen layout. The iKitchen does not need to be on an exterior wall, provided that the range hood is properly vented to the outdoors. This enables more options for the rest of the house design.

Remaining issues
I did not come up with a method for bringing in the groceries (possibly from an Amazon Prime delivery) to the iPantry. I did not address my wife's concern about how the iKitchen would wash and trim "tedious kale" and other awkward foods. I also did not address Separatrix' and coteyr's concern about how the trash/recycling/compost would be taken out. Those issues might make good follow-up questions.

Here are the major features:

About $ 7,000: Dishwasher
A small commercial dishwasher with:

  • drying cycle
  • enough room to wash platters, cookie sheets, and stockpots
  • high temperature (180°F final rinse)
  • each "rack" of dishes takes about three minutes, and a couple gallons of water.

The system might need four racks, and room for a fifth:

  • one for the iKitchen's dirty dishes.
  • one in the dishwasher.
  • one in the butler's pantry, for people to put dirty dishes in. (This addresses Dan Smith's concern about how the dirty dishes would be retrieved.)
  • one for the clean dishes that are being put away.
  • room for whichever rack needs to be moved next.

About $ 15,000: Robotic arms designed for cooking
As suggested by user2720406, the cooking (and dish handling) can be done by ceiling-mounted robot arm(s). In particular, Miroslav Saracevic suggested Moley Robotics' Automated Kitchen system. It includes a pair of robotic arms and hands, mounted on an overhead crane. Moley has demonstrated a prototype system.

As suggested by Jasen, John, and Whinja, these hands are capable of manipulating the cooking tools, putting the dirty dishes in the dishwashing racks, handling the dishwashing racks, and putting away the clean dishes. They are effectively an iRobot that is restricted to the iKitchen, as suggested by Snowlockk.

A Moley video addresses one of coteyr's concerns. The robotic hands are designed to stay out of the way when a human is using the kitchen. The iKitchen can actually watch the human cook, and emulate the human's motions in new recipes. The human would need to be tidy, so that the robot's cooking surfaces are available when it needs to cook. Unfortunately, the robotic hands are not able to "take out the trash", and it is not obvious how "seasoning to taste" would be done.

Chris H and coteyr asked about the user interface for "seasoning to taste". The Moley video shows a huge touch panel monitor that is used to choose recipes. Perhaps the app could have a "pull-out" "Seasoning" pane. The pane could have icons and sliders for the levels of various seasonings (sweetness, salt, pepper, capsaicin hotness, ginger, and/or other seasonings relevant to the recipe). These settings could default to what was served most recently for a similar recipe. There could even be a toolbar in the pane for choosing different users' settings.

I wonder if the arms can be designed so that one arm can detach the other, put it through a dishwashing cycle, and reattach the second arm.

About $ 2,000: Tools
A set of bowls, plates, pots, pans, cookie sheets, flatware, knives, ladles, spatulas, silicone lids, and serving implements. For compactness, nestability, durability, and microwave-safety, the bowls and plates could be Corelleware. The pots and pans could be induction-range compatible. The silicone lids would have center grips, and would be used as suction cups.

As Erin Thursby recommends, "All dishes must be iKitchen dishes and cookware." There are several reasons for this:

  • The iKitchen "will be less likely to malfunction if dishes are a specific size and programmed to go into a specific place, sized for being put away there."
  • Induction cooktops can only be used with certain kinds of pots and pans.
  • The exact materials and sizes of the pots and pans affect the cooking times.
  • Avoiding teflon-like "non-stick" cookware prevents accidentally scratching off the "non-stick" surface, and accidentally burning up the teflon.
  • The iKitchen can more easily recognize which proprietary dishes and cookware are microwave-safe and/or oven-safe.
  • The iKitchen might be able to notice if a proprietary item has broken, and order a replacement.

About $ 3,000: Refrigerator
A cabinet-depth refrigerator with ice-maker. (Part of the iPantry).

About $ 4,000: Cooking appliances
Hot things, and the ventilation to keep the kitchen cool and dry:

  • An induction-range. These are easily cleaned, and have less risk of fire than natural gas ranges.
  • A large oven (suitable for cooking Thanksgiving turkeys), a small oven (suitable for cooking cakes or pies, or for keeping them warm), and broiler functionality.
  • A microwave oven.
  • A quiet range hood.
  • An interlocked air inlet that opens when the range hood or house exhaust fan is on.

About $ 2,000: Other appliances
Other kitchen appliances: A blender, a mixer, a toaster, a rice-cooker, a waffle-maker, fire extinguisher, et cetera, as desired.

About $ 9,000: Cabinets
A set of custom cabinets, including the cabinets in the iPantry.

As Erin Thursby recommends, "All cabinets must be iCabinets." The iCabinets can have a place for every thing, and vice versa. There might need to be some empty locations for future purchases.

  • Ladles, spatulas, and serving implements could be hung from hooks in pull-out drawers. If it is too hard for the robotic hands to removed flatware from stacks, perhaps the flatware could also be hung.

  • Spices could be stored in pull-out drawers. (Part of the iPantry).

  • Each kind of bowl or plate would have its own drawer. These items would be stacked.

Here is a method for stacking dishes. The process would be reversed to remove an item from the stack. (cybernard suggested using suction to place the dishes. It addresses Loren Pechtel's concern about getting exactly one item from the top of a stack.)

  1. The robotic hand(s) would open the drawer.
  2. One robotic hand would grasp the item to be put away, and place it about an inch above its stack.
  3. The second robotic hand would grasp an oversized suction cup, and apply the suction cup to the item. My wife has a set of silicone lids (with center grips) that can be used as oversized suction cups. The lids are dishwasher-safe.
  4. The first robotic hand would get out of the way.
  5. The second robotic hand would gently place the item on the stack.
  6. The first robotic hand would then peel off the suction cup.

About $ 1,000 - 5,000: Countertops
Countertops. Post-formed laminate would suffice, but solid-surface or quartz could be upgrades.

About $ 3,000: Butler's pantry
The butler's pantry.

About $ 7,000: Wiring and plumbing
Pro-rated share of house wiring and plumbing costs. Includes sinks, fixtures, smoke alarm, and lights.

  • $\begingroup$ The question doesn’t ask anything about costs. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 17, 2017 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz -- Actually, the question does specify a cost constraint. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac -- Can RFID tags be incorporated into / onto Corelleware? Induction-compatible pots and pans? Stainless steel flatware? $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @coteyr -- Does it seem like you could use this iKitchen as a normal kitchen? It seems to me that there would be a few difficulties: Would the human clear everything out of the robot's way when the human was done using the kitchen? If the iKitchen has a linear layout without windows, would you be happy cooking in it? Would you want extra work surfaces? Would there be a strict rule that the robot arms would only come down when glass shutters are keeping humans out? $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ @coteyr -- I think the robot arms would need to share use of the iPantry with the humans. Unless there were two refrigerators, they would need to share the refrigerator. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 17:59

iKitchen? Why not iDine. An all-in-one.

It works on the premise of a rotary system.

Let's assume an outer rotatable platform upon a round table. The axis contains a CPU capable of the following functions; catering, arrangement, cleaning (plates, cutlery, etc), dispensing garbage.

A small 'treadmill', that can realign on the fly, acts as a taxi between the CPU and outer platform.

Before dining, simply input data such as; meals, seat numbers, etc. The CPU preps and outputs the dishes via the taxi. The outer platform and taxi work in unison - this ensures the correct dishes land on their correlating seat numbers.

Once everyone's done eating, the taxi deals with returning dishes to the CPU. The system essentially enables dishwasher mode - given 15m, it's good to go again!

Patent pending.


Certainly 3D printers will be advanced enough to handle plate. After use the plates are heated and/or crush back into a liquid to be re-used by the 3D printer.

The melting phase will happen at say 1000F so the heat will sanitize it. Maybe a quick high pressure wash to get the big pieces off.

If you wanted to put it any dishes away, use a suction cup with a vacuum tube down the center, and turn the vacuum off when you want to set it down.

  • $\begingroup$ The suction cup idea does not even need a vacuum, nor to have the suction cup be part of the robot. A robotic hand and a separate suction cup will suffice. My mother-in-law gave my wife a really useful Christmas present. It is a set of silicone lids that act as suction cups. A human-sized hand can grasp a lid's central knob, place it over a dish, and push down to create a seal. By pulling up on the knob, it is possible to lift a two-pound dish. The dish can later be put down, and the lid can be peeled off from the edge. The lids can be washed in a regular dishwasher. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ To prevent breakage, the hand-grasping-suction-cup method of holding dishes could be used for just the first inch of gently picking up a dish, and the last inch of gently setting down a dish. This would allow using finer dishes that might not be easily (and individually) grasped from the top of a stack of dishes. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 0:36

Seems to me we need to rethink the kitchen entirely. Where do dishes go when they are put "away?"

We have cabinets and cupboards that we keep dishes in, so we always know where to find them. But who needs to find them? The iKitchen delivers them to you when you need them, with your food already cooked and upon them. So what do you care if they are in a cupboard or simply in a rack somewhere under the counter (which no longer needs drawers and doors)?

In fact, who even needs to go into the kitchen? Why make it a walk-in room? The kitchen is the new water heater. Give it a door for maintenance but otherwise leave it in a corner of the house and ignore it until it breaks. The only part of the iKitchen that merits concern is the attached dining room table, which extends out of the iKitchen and into the dining room, featuring a conveyor belt that supplies and retracts food and dishes directly from the iKitchen to the dining room table! The sleek design of the belt even sits flush with the tabletop so your guests would never guess that it was anything but a fancy table runner until, to their surprise, out comes the delicious meal!

For an extra charge, you can even have the technicians install more tables and counters in various rooms of the house. Using discreet speakers in each of these rooms and speech recognition technology, anyone in the house can order a meal (or snack) from the kitchen from any room in the house with ease, and have it delivered to the room in which they ordered it! With its ability to distinguish voices from one another, you can even set parental controls to ensure that the kids don't eat too much junk food!

Restocking is also automatic. The iKitchen keeps constant inventory and orders more of a food when it runs low. Self-driving cars deliver the food to your house and place it into the iKitchen's intake. The iKitchen intelligently sorts through the package and stores cold foods in the refrigerator or freezer. It also checks "best by" dates and alerts the owner when such a date is approaching, then offers a list of suggested meals using those ingredients. Should the user ignore these alerts and the food should expire, the iKitchen discards it automatically as well with its interface to the iGarbage (sold separately). Users can also configure the iKitchen to keep and use certain products for a specified number of days beyond their expiration date, with the quick signing of an e-waiver that resolves iKitchen of any responsibility.

Order yours today!

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, but more of an extended comment than an answer. How does a conveyer belt (the only handling you mentioned) put dishes away in an internal rack? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 17, 2017 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Robot arm? Independently-rotating holders? Being stored internally provides countless trivial solutions, and pushes the technical details out of the audience's scope of interest. $\endgroup$
    – Devsman
    Jan 17, 2017 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ You should include a sentence to that effect in the answer. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 17, 2017 at 16:39
  1. No carts, belts, or anything else to do. Eat and leave. Entire kitchen and eating room is dishwasher interior. On meal ending (and guests leaving!) room tilts up and forward at 45 degrees. Additional movements of the room ensue, to facilitate cleaning. All surfaces are lashed with hot water and detergent, as the interior of a dishwasher. All utensils are unbreakable and tumble thru the room via gravity and jets of hot water to an egress point in the corner of the room, which is now the bottom of the room. Utensils are caught on screens, tumbled, cleaned, dried, sorted by size / weight / electrical impedance and stored out of sight. Unclassifiable solid items (e.g. steak bone, uncle's dentures) will go to trash hopper for later reclamation or disposal. Sterile, clean room is drained, dried and reset to normal alignment.

Bathroom should have the same set up. Also operating room, if you have one.


Depending on the technological progress you allow for the next decades, maybe you should think much further than "putting away dishes". The answers by SRM and ArgumentBargument are pretty good in my opinion.

But if you allow for even more technological progress: how about using holographic dishes - holographic as in "Star Trek Holodeck"? The dishes are just force fields and visual projections, and can be created and destroyed at will. I assume that holographic food is not quite possible; so when you disable the force fields of a dish the remaining food will just fall down, preferably into a trash can.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd be interested to know why this was downvoted! $\endgroup$
    – oliver
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ The first paragraph a comment, not an answer. The second paragraph is fantasy, not science-based. (Unless by "force field", you mean "quantum mechanical fields of nuclei and electrons, as organized in the forms of matter used in material dishes", in which case it just says "use dishes".) $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 18, 2017 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Laser tweezers are a real thing ... it's just a matter of, um, optimization. $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2022 at 19:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .