Jul 2, 2009
It is the world’s smallest, portable microwave and can be powered via a link to the USB port on a laptop computer.
The turquoise device -called the Beanzawave – has been created in partnership with Heinz to allow workers tied to their desks to create a warm snack, or hot drink, to see them through the day.
However, it might also sustain a hard-working student through the many hours of lonely revision.
And the convenience of powering it from a laptop computer means you could tuck into a hot snack while flying on holiday or even on the train.
To date, the device, which stands just 7.4inches tall by 6.2in wide and 5.9in deep, is only a prototype.
However, experts at the Microwave Association insist the sophisticated miniaturised technology does exist to turn the eye-catching gadget into a reality.
The mini-micro has been designed by microwave expert Gordon Andrews and Stephen Frazer, an authority on industrial design and managng director of Frazer Designers.
Apart from its size, the key breakthrough is the use of a combination of mobile phone radio frequencies to create the heat to cook both on the outside and within in under a minute.
Mr Andrews, the managing director of GAMA Microwave Technology, said it is possible to ‘tune’ the radio-frequencies to provide the best results with any small product.
‘It is possible to heat a pie, a burger, a cup of soup or tea in quick time,’ he said.
‘There is the option of powering it with lithium ion batteries that would make it completely portable, which would be a help to fishermen, campers or sportsmen.’
Mr Andrews said he created the oven after being approached for help by Heinz, who wanted a portable microwave that would work with its Snap Pots.
The main drawback, with component prices at current levels, is the fact that the mini-micro would carry a hefty price of around £100.
However, just as mobile phones have become cheaper, so the cost of production could fall to the point where it becomes profitable to manufacture on a large scale.
Mr Andrews said the product conforms with all the safety standards of a normal microwave oven, including protective walls and a door mechanism which kills the power when it opens.
Heinz claims there is a ready market for the ovens. Its research found 69 per cent of office workers find they are so busy at their terminals that they do not have a chance to go out for lunch every day.
Heinz Beanz marketing manager, John Alderman, said: ‘Heinz Beanz and Hoops Snap Pots are one of the most innovative and successful new product launches in this category for the last two years, boasting sales of over £22million.
‘They were designed in response to the changing eating habits of Brits, who require a quick solution to mealtimes, a trend which is even more relevant in today’s environment.
‘The single serve microwavable Snap Pots allow people to quickly heat and eat. We are therefore delighted to be working with Gordon as the Beanzawave is the perfect partner to Heinz Snap Pots, allowing a nutritious snack to be whipped up anywhere in just 60 seconds.’
Heinz said that any decision on whether to support production will depend on the feedback it receives from the public.