A folding oven woven out of soft cloth could be on sale as early as next year predict scientists who demonstrated a prototype today. Despite weighing only a few hundred grams, the lightweight electrical oven can be made hot enough to roast chicken, according to the researchers who developed it.
Thin and flexible conductive elements are woven into the oven's highly heat-resistant fabric, said the researchers, who demonstrated the folding kitchen appliance to reporters at a restaurant in Taiwan today.
The oven's internal temperature can exceed 300 degrees without damaging the soft fabric, they claimed. The appliance was developed by scientists at the country's government sponsored Taiwan Textile Research Institute. Researchers cooked toast for show visitors to demonstrate the prototype.
The oven is designed to be extremely portable. It can be folded and weighs only a few hundred grams, according to press reports (linked page is Chinese language).
While the prototype shown today is intended primarily as a demonstration of the technology, researchers suggested a variety of potential applications where a highly portable, durable oven could be useful, including military field kitchens, camping, outdoor catering, and disaster relief – pointing out that unlike gas-powered portable cooking equipment, it requires little space while being transported, and can be safely and legally carried on aircraft. However, they conceded that the requirement for a high-wattage power supply would make it less suitable in some situations.
The cloth stove was among innovations on display at the Textile International Forum and Exhibition in Taipei. Other high tech textile products shown included backpacks, hats and clothing woven with solar panels that can power media players, mobile phones and similar electronic gadgets.