Category: Design

Announcing the General Availability of the World’s First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot Smart

By , November 24, 2014

Instant Pot SmartIf you live a fast-paced, health-oriented and green-conscious life style, Instant Pot is designed specifically for you.

Instant Pot Smart is a revolutionary Smartcooker designed by Canadians with the objectives of being Safe, Convenient and Dependable. It is Bluetooth® enabled allowing programming and monitoring from smartphones or tablets. It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy, and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion.

Convenience, Simple as Pressing a Button

Instant Pot Smart is a multi-functional fully-programmable Smartcooker combining the benefits of a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Porridge Maker, Steamer, Sauté pan, Yogurt Maker, Food

two screen shots1 300x292 Announcing the General Availability of the Worlds First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot Smart

Warmer and more. It is built with our patent-pending technology which lets you program complex cooking steps in recipe scripts on your smartphone/tablet and execute on the cooker wirelessly. A free iOS app (Android app to be available soon) can be downloaded from iTune App Store.  This capability allows the cooker’s functionalities to be expanded after purchase by upgrading apps, and the recipe scripts can be shared with friends.  Your favorite dishes are within the reach of pressing a button. Green peas, sweet corn and baby carrots can be steamed in 2 to 3 minutes, fresh or frozen. To make mashed potato, don’t boil potatoes in water for 50 minutes leaching nutrients into the water; steam them in Instant Pot for just 15 minutes. An entrée of chilli or Irish stew can be done within an hour, without you watching over it. Want to try the Japanese Onsen Tamago (Hot Spring egg)? There’s recipe script in the free app.  You can also write a recipe script to turn Instant Pot Smart into a hot pot cooker.

IP Smart control panel final 21 225x300 Announcing the General Availability of the Worlds First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot SmartTailored for varying tastes and food conditions, the programs come with 3 adjustable modes. Special features include 3 temperatures in Sauté for browning, simmering or thickening, and 3 temperatures in Slow Cook to complete the tasks of a common slow cooker. Most traditional, modern and international recipes can be easily adapted for Instant Pot.

A 24-hour timer allows for delayed cooking. Automatic keep-warm holds the temperature of the food until you are ready to serve. It works as a perfect porridge maker allowing you wake up with a fresh made porridge.

IP Smart right lid holder1 233x300 Announcing the General Availability of the Worlds First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot SmartElegant and Durable Industrial Design

Instant Pot generates almost no noise, leaks no steam, traps food aromas, and cooks without heating up the surroundings. The durable 3-ply bottom stainless steel inner pot eliminates the health concerns of non-stick coating. The slim body offers a smaller foot print and right and left lid holders are convenient for all. The brushed stainless steel exterior is finger print resistant. Its elegant and durable industrial design makes it easy to clean and pleasurable to use for the years to come.

Dependable Consistent Results

Instant Pot Smart series uses the latest 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor. During the cooking process, the microprocessor monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration. Even the volume of food is also taken into consideration. The cooking programs have been lab-tested hundreds of times for optimal effect. These greatly improve cooking results and maintain consistency.

Safety without Compromise

Instant Pot is carefully designed to eliminate many common errors from causing harm or spoiling food. It has passed the stringent UL & ULC certification giving you uncompromised safety and peace of mind.  Instant Pot protects you with 10 proven safety mechanisms and patented technologies.

IP Smart 10 safety mechanisms 300x116 Announcing the General Availability of the Worlds First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot Smart

  1. Safety Lid Lock prevents accidental opening while the cooker is pressurized
  2. Pressure Regulator ensures working pressure to be under the safety limit of 15.23psi (105kpa)
  3. Smart detection of leaky lid (e.g. steam release is at open position)
  4. Anti-blockage Vent design prevents food debris from blocking the vent
  5. Using a magnetic sensor, Lid Position Detection monitors whether the lid is in an unsafe zone for pressure cooking.
  6. Automatic Pressure Controller keeps pressure always in the safe range
  7. Excess Pressure Protection releases excess pressure into internal chamber in a dangerous situation
  8. Automatic Temperature Control regulates temperature based on the type of program being selected
  9. High Temperature monitoring avoids burning food
  10. Electrical current and temperature fuse cuts off power if the current or internal temperature exceeds safety limits

Instant Pot Smart will be available on Amazon.com and Instant Pot store in Dec. 2014 and in UK and EU later in 2015.

Features

  • Bluetooth® Smart compliant (Bluetooth® 4.0) to connect to smartphones/tablets, providing easy to use interfaces to control and monitor cooking progress in graphics. The cooker’s functionalities can be upgraded and expanded after purchase.  Cooking procedures can be written in recipe script and shared with friends.
  • Free iOS app with built-in recipes. Android app is to be available shortly.
  • Multi-Functional Programmable Cooker: Pressure cooker, Slow cooker, Rice Cooker, Porridge Maker, Steamer, Sauté/Browning, Yogurt  Maker & Warmer
  • 10 Proven Safety Mechanisms, UL and ULC certified
  • 14 Micro-Processor controlled programs: Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Slow Cook, Keep-Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurize and Fermented Rice (Jiu Niang)
  • Dual pressure settings for fast and flexible cooking: Cooking with the high pressure reduces cooking time by up to 70% and the low pressure avoids overcooking delicate food
  • Yogurt Maker function can heat the milk for pasteurization and fermentation, making yogurt in either jars or the cooking pot for up to 5L of milk.
  • 3 Adjustable Modes for most functions. 3 Sauté temperatures, 3 Slow Cook temperatures and 3 Keep-warm temperatures.
  • Slow Cooker function allows selecting time between 0.5 ~ 20 hours
  • Delay Cooking Timer: Up to 24 hours
  • Manual pressure setting: Up to 120 minute cook time
  • Automatic keep-warm: up to 10 hours
  • Manual keep-warm setting: Up to 99 hours and 50 minutes
  • Highly energy efficient saving up to 70% of energy
  • 3-ply bottom Food Grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel cooking pot for durabilityassessories ip smart1 300x174 Announcing the General Availability of the Worlds First Bluetooth® Smartcooker: Instant Pot Smart
  • Finger-print resistant brushed stainless steel exterior
  • Low profile 18/8 stainless steel steam rack with handles to lower and lift food into and out of the cooking pot, for maximal usable space
  • Accessories included: stainless steel steam rack with handles, silicone mini mitts, condensation collector, rice paddle, soup spoon and measuring cup
  • User Manual and Quick Reference Guide in English, Spanish, French and Chinese, Pressure Cooking booklet and cooking time tables are included
  • Instant Pot Smart has a 6 Qt cooking pot and a 1000W heating element.

Instant Pot is a registered trademark of Double Insight Inc. in US, Canada, UK and pending in EU and China.

Instant Pot Smart Product Introduction (PDF format)

What is the iPot made for?

By , January 22, 2014

Instant Pot iPot Smartcooker 274x300 What is the iPot made for?Coming back from CES at Las Vegas, I am very pleased with the overwhelming responses from the media and the public. The Instant Pot iPot was hailed as one of the “Fourteen Hot Products from 2014 CES” and one of “The Weirdest Tech Gadgets at CES 2014”.  Techhive made an on spot video report, CNET has a more detailed review,  Sound and Vision compared the iPot to a connected slow cooker, PurpleClover asked “Exactly How Smart Should Your Home Be?”, TechGlimpse put on a coverage, Homecrux drilled down to more details….

Not all of them get the details right. This is no surprise in exhibition halls crowded with tens of thousands of people and announcements of thousands new products. Some may see iPot being cool because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0/4.1) to connect iPhone/iPad to the cooker. Well, that’s not the purpose.  Here, I want to clarify the two design objectives of the iPot.

1. Solving the cooking consistency problem. Have you ever not been frustrated by failing to reproduce a cooking recipe!? The quality of cooked food out of Instant Pot is ultimately the most important thing to users. Cooking consistency is affected by many factors: food materials and their size/volume, cooking time, elevation and cooking process.  A one-size-fit-all program (3 “sizes” in Instant Pot) can only go so far.  To achieve the optimal result, we need a tailor-made cooking program for each recipe.  Once this is done, undercooked short-ribs and beans or burnt oatmeal at the bottom will be history.

2. People want to use Instant Pot in many unique ways. To get a taste of the variety, let’s sample a few.

  • GABA rice 300x266 What is the iPot made for?Making germinated brown rice.  Brown rice sprouts in warm water (38°C or 100°F) in 12~24 hours, producing unique nutty flavor and more complete amino acid. See the picture of germinated brown rice I made on right.
  • Sous vide, Onsen Tamago (hot spring eggs), etc.
  • Pasteurize milk at the lowest temperature (63°C or 145ºF) so all pathogens are killed but none of the good enzymes and nutrients are lost
  • Pressure baking
  • Decrystallize honey in the jar without destroying its health properties
  • Sanitize baby bottles, pacifiers, pump pieces.

There is clearly a long tail of these use scenarios. If we add a button for each of these functions, the control panel will soon look like a keyboard. We’ll have to leverage something with a better user interface.  A smartphone or tablet would spring right into our minds.

If you have any intriguing ways of using Instant Pot, please let us know.  We’ll add them to the iPot.  With iPot, the functionality is limitless.

Which Electric Pressure Cooker Operates at 15psi?

By , May 29, 2013

InstantPot steam release 2 267x300 Which Electric Pressure Cooker Operates at 15psi?Because most pressure cooker recipes are designed for 15psi pressure cookers. Many users are looking for 15psi electric pressure cooker.  We are asked whether Instant Pot operates at 15psi.

To answer this question, we need to clarify a concept here.  The max working pressure of a pressure cooker is the pressure which pushes up the safety device (i.e. steam release, pressure valve or by some other names) and the cooker starts letting out steams to reduce pressure. The max working pressure of stove-top pressure cookers ranges from 12psi to 21.7psi. For the high-end stove-top models, it is typically in the 16~21.7psi range. This is specified in product document and also commonly marked at the bottom of the steam release.

Instant Pot has a max working pressure of 15.23psi (105kpa). This is marked on the steam release handle, see the image on the top.  One of the design objectives of Instant Pot is not to let out steam and make noise during its operation.  So normal working pressure has to be below 15.23psi.  Instant Pot’s working pressure is in the range of 10.15~11.6 psi. If you have small amount of food/liquid in the cooker, Instant Pot may touch 15.23psi momentarily due to the heat conduction delay.

When a stove-top pressure cooker reaches its max working pressure  and starts whistling out steams, you’d turn down the heating to stop the whistling.  In such a condition, your stove-top pressure cooker may be operating at a pressure level similar to Instant Pot. You only cook the food at the max working pressure when it’s whistling continuously.

So,

  • Does Instant Pot have the same 15 psi max working pressure as common stove-top pressure cookers? Yes! It’s 15.23psi.
  • Does Instant Pot cook your food constantly at 15psi? No, it’s in the range of 10.15~11.6 psi.
15psi1 150x150 Which Electric Pressure Cooker Operates at 15psi?

Illustration of Instant Pot working pressure curve

You can see the working pressure chart on the right. Most electric pressure cookers available on the market work like this, but may not have the same max and working pressure range.

If your recipe specifies cooking at 15psi, you can adapted to Instant Pot by increasing the cooking time by 7~15%.

Note: the max working pressure is not an indicator of the max safety pressure that the cooker can withstand. If a cooker is certified with UL or equivalent, it should withstand 5 times the working pressure without leaking.

Many electric pressure cooker has a max working pressure of 13.05psi (90kpa).  You can find this out by looking at the bottom of its steam release.  A properly certified and manufactured cooker always has such rating on the parts.

 

Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove-top Pressure Cooker

By , May 24, 2012

Our customers ask whether electric pressure cooker is slower than stove-top pressure cooker.  Someone claimed that stove-top cooker can be 2~3 times faster in reaching working pressure.  This may be possible with a gas-stove.  However the majority of North American families use electric stoves. We decide to run a test on this typical scenario.

Test equipments:

  • Instant Pot IP LUX60 heating stage 174x180 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    Instant Pot IP LUX60 at the heating stage

    Instant Pot IP-LUX60: 1000W, 6L inner pot. Plugged-into an electronic power meter (Kill-A-Watt P4400).

  • T Fal Safe 2 on Maytag electric range 180x135 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    T-Fal Safe 2 on Maytag electric range

    T-Fal Safe 2 Model 3271 stove-top pressure cooker, 6L capacity, which likely has a pressure rating of 11psi.

  • Maytag SuperCapacity Plus electric range with glass ceramic cooktop, coil element power rating: 2100W
  • Thermoworks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen, accuracy +/-0.4°C (0.2°F).

Test conditions:

  • Fill both Instant Pot and T-Fal with 3 liter tap water at 13.6°C
  • Set to cook at full pressure for 10 minutes. The “Manual” mode of Instant Pot was used.

After running multiple tests, the following is the results:

  • Instant Pot IP-LUX60 took 23:30 ~ 24:15 (minutes:seconds) to reach working pressure 11.6psi.  Hold pressure for 10 minutes. Total power consumption 0.35~0.36 KWH.
  • T-Fal on Maytag electric range took 24:05~24:50 to reach pressure (steam release started leaking steam and rotating).  Afterwards, power was turned down to 30% to maintain the pressure. Total power consumption based on the power rating: 0.945~0.974 KWH.

In conclusion,

  • The stove-top T-Fal + Maytag electric range take about 20~30 seconds longer to reach working pressure than Instant Pot IP-LUX60.
  • Instant Pot IP-LUX60 uses around 63% less electricity than the T-Fal in this specific test.

There are two possible explanations regarding the electricity consumption:

  1. The glass ceramic cooktop reduces heating efficiency. The whole stove was warm and the T-Fal radiated heat along the way. That’s where the energy had gone.
  2. curved 3 ply bottom of InstantPot cooking pot 180x68 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    Curved 3-ply bottom of Instant Pot stainless steel cooking pot

    Instant Pot has two layers of air insulation, which minimize energy leakage. The bottom of its inner pot is curved inwards which fits tightly on the heating element curved outwards. Thermal conduction is excellent.

When we first designed Instant Pot, the intention is to make it fast in terms of convenience.  A press-a-button set-and-forget smart cooker is our objective.   Now heating efficiency makes Instant Pot faster than stove-tops on an electric range.

The Sautéing/Browning Function of IP-LUX60

By , February 25, 2012

Sautéing is a method of cooking food with a small amount of oil or fat at relatively high heat. Food that is sautéed is browned while preserving its texture, moisture and flavor.  A typical use of sautéing is to brown the meat before pressure cooking.

The new Instant Pot IP-LUX60 is equipped with an advanced sautéing/browning function key.  3 levels of temperature can be chosen with the “Adjust” key for best results.

  • “Normal”: ~160°C (320°F) for regular browning,
  • “More”: ~170°C (338°F) for darker browning,  and
  • “Less”: ~105°C (221°F) for light browning.

The “Sauté” function can also be used to thicken the sauce after pressure cooking, by adding starch or simply evaporating liquid. In fact, it can be used for anything related with a sauce pan, e.g warming a canned soup, reheating porridge, etc.

During sautéing, the lid needs to be opened at all time to avoid pressure building up.  If the lid is closed, the display will show a flashing “Lid”.

The procedure of using “Sauté”.

  • Press the “Sauté” function key.
  • Select a temperature with the “Adjust” key for “Normal”, “More” or “Less”.
  • Sauté Temperature ReachedWhen Instant Pot reaches the given working temperature, it displays “Hot” and you can start sautéing/browning meat.
  • One full “Sauté” session will run for 30 minutes. You can cancel it at any time by pressing the “Cancel/Keep Warm” key and continue with a pressure cooking function.

A brief video demo of Instant Pot IP-LUX60 for browning (sautéing) in action.

Instant Pot IP-LUX60 Hardware Improvements

By , February 7, 2012
InstantPot old power connector 300x253 Instant Pot IP LUX60 Hardware Improvements

InstantPot old power connector design

The hardware design of Instant Pot has matured for many years. Millions of electric pressure cookers of the same design are in use worldwide. However, our design team have been working on improvement to safety and performance for the last 6 months. I’d like to mention two most notable hardware enhancements.

Safety First

InstantPot new power connector 300x227 Instant Pot IP LUX60 Hardware Improvements

InstantPot new power connector design

The original power cable connector has a flat surface, see image on right. Liquid could drip from the lid or water collector along the cooker housing wall into the connector, which could become a power short-circuit hazard. Although none of such incident happened, our design team added a shield to redirect water away from the connector. This shield protect the power connector from any spilling water. See the new design in the picture on right.

Better Steam Release

Instant Pot Steam release silicon cone 300x233 Instant Pot IP LUX60 Hardware Improvements

InstantPot new steam release with silicone rubber cone, see the red circle.

The original steam release has a metal cone inside to seal over the steam release pipe on the lid. Metal on metal doesn’t always create a tight seal. There were reports of steam constantly leaking from the steam release. Although the defect rate is very low, at about 0.6%, our design team believed that they can resolve the problem once for all. The solution is to use a silicone rubber cone in the steam release. The silicone rubber cone creates a tight seal over the steam release pipe. This design was shipped with the last container load of Instant Pot IP-CSG60 and we haven’t had any report of leaky steam release.

Designing Instant Pot Model IP-LUX60/50

By , January 31, 2012

After a runaway success of our model IP-CSG60/50, we have been looking for design ideas for our new models.  Our source of inspiration came from user feedback.  In general, the vast majority of our customers approves of our design philosophy of “Safe, Convenient and Dependable”.  Instant Pot is about “set and forget” cooking style, leveraging the micro-processor controlled smart cooking programs.

Summarizing the user feedback, we found two areas which need improvement or enhancement.

  1. Convenient and intuitive user interface.
  2. Versatility of cooking capabilities.

We have taken these two points to heart and implemented them in the design of our new model IP-LUX60/50.  This blog covers how the user interface is improved.  I’ll talk about how the versatility is enhanced in my next blog.

We have a confession to make.  The most support calls we received are questions about the flashing dashes and the marquee symbol (for pre-heating) in IP-CSG60/50.  We decided to use plain English on the display to make the status display intuitive. Due to the limitation of the LED display panel, it’s a small challenge to find the right words.

Now in our new model IP-LUX60/50, the followings are used.

InstantPot cooking process flow chart

Another improvement to usability is to allow manual changes to all preset cooking time.  Simply, press and hold “+” or “-” to race the number to your desired cooking time. Note this doesn’t apply to the fully automated “Rice” and “Multigrain” programs.

Improved Versatility of Instant Pot Model IP-LUX60/50

By , January 31, 2012

InstantPot IP LUX control pannel 300x280 Improved Versatility of Instant Pot Model IP LUX60/50

InstantPot IP-LUX control pannel

Our users told us that you want more capabilities from Instant Pot, especially the browning and slow cooking.  You may ask how “slow cooking” is compatible with the brand name of “Instant Pot”.

When our design started over 3 years ago, the intent was to create a smart cooking appliance so that cooking process to a user is “instant”, i.e. the press of a button. Of course, being a pressure cooker Instant Pot also speeds up cooking substantially.

To enhance Instant Pot’s versatility in cooking capabilities, we added Sauté/browning with 3 different temperature settings, ranging 105~170° C (221-338°F).  You can use “Adjust” button to choose “Less” for low temperature, “More” for high temperature (close to olive oil smoking point) and “Normal” in between.  Sauté is done with the lid opened. This function can also be used to thicken the sauce after cooking.

Following the same line of reasoning, we added 3 temperature settings for “Slow Cook”, ranging 88-99°C (190-210°F), again adjustable with “Adjust” button.  These correspond to low, normal and high temperature cooking in common slow cookers.

We also extended manual cooking time to 120 minutes to cook tough dry food, e.g. split corns, in one cooking cycle.