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This retrofittable knob transforms your dumb stove into a self-regulating cooktop

Love the idea of appliances that cook for you, but hate the idea of paying thousands of dollars for one of these so-called “smart” appliances? Not to worry. Seattle-based startup Meld has developed an ingenious new device that gives your kitchen all the Jetstons-level tech you’ve ever wanted without the exorbitant price tag

Freshly launched on Kickstarter this week, the company’s eponymous device is essentially a low-cost smart knob that you can retrofit onto your existing cooktop. Once attached, it gives your stove the ability to intelligently regulate its own temperature and cook foods to perfection autonomously.

The system consists of three separate components. There’s a motorized knob equipped with Bluetooth, a wireless temperature sensor (the Meld Clip) that clips onto your cooking vessel, and an accompanying mobile app that ties it all together.

To use it, you start by removing the analog knob from your existing stove and replacing it with the Meld knob. Once you’ve got it synced up with the temperature sensor and mobile app via Bluetooth, the knob will automatically turn the burner up or down to keep your stove at the perfect temperature. It knows how to adjust the heat based on the readings it receives from the Meld Clip. Just tell the app what kind of food you’re cooking and Meld will handle the rest.

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It might not sound like a very big deal, but adding intelligent temperature regulation to your stove is a game changer; it greatly expands your cooktop’s functionality. With the right temperature setting, Meld will allow you to cook sous vide on your stovetop — something that otherwise requires the use of special equipment. Meld also makes stovetop deep frying a viable possibility, since its smart temperature regulation helps you avoid overheating the oil.

The device only exists in prototype form at this point, but Meld’s creators have recently taken to Kickstarter to raise funds for production. Unfortunately all the early bird backer rewards have already been snagged up, but you can still lock down a smart knob of your own for a pledge of about 129 bucks. The campaign has already achieved its $50K funding goal, so barring any major hiccups in the manufacturing process, the Meld team expects to ship to backers as early as October.