I would never have believed the kind of technology embedded in high-end rice cookers if we didn’t have one here at Casa Kedrosky. Fascinating article on same in today’s WSJ. Call it — pace one of my favorite investing themes — the prosumer-ification of everything.
More than four years ago, Japan’s Toshiba Corp. began working on a top-secret electronic device. The $830 machine — which some say resembles a tiny spaceship — had a powerful vacuum pump to suck all the air out. It was designed to withstand 264 pounds of pressure, and it made use of silver and powdered diamonds. Production of the contraption, which takes about 30 people to assemble, started last year.
Toshiba’s creation is the “Vacuum Pressure Cooker,” the company’s most expensive rice cooker ever. The pressure makes it possible to boil the water in the cooker at a higher temperature, thus making for fatter, shinier and sweeter grains of rice. The air-sucking filter creates a vacuum causing the rice to absorb water more quickly while it soaks. The silver and diamond dust are used to coat the cooking vessel so as to distribute heat evenly, so every grain of rice has the same texture.
“It was a lot of work,” says Noriko Saito, one of Toshiba’s chief rice-cooker developers.