Chances are, if you live in the U.S. you don’t have an induction cooktop. Rather than having you install a whole new range, a couple companies want you to put a hub on your countertop and use the more precise method that way. GE subsidiary FirstBuild turned to Indiegogo to fund its Paragon Induction Cooktop, and now it has a bit of competition.
The Oliso SmartHub aspires to be all that the Paragon promises, plus a little something extra. A water bath (the SmartTop) sits atop the burner, and the two are supposed to be in constant communication. Designed for sous vide, the double-walled SmartTop holds its temperature to within 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooking technique uses water kept below boiling to slowly cook food stored in vacuum-sealed bags.
Like the Paragon, the SmartHub is meant to be more than a one-trick pony, though. Its creators want to eventually want to make more accessories for the cooktop, like a griddle for searing. Additionally, it’s hoping to make a temperature probe that talks to the hub, so you can use your current cookware. Right now, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the machine, as the only way to tell if the machine is ready is via the LED lights on the SmartTop. Oliso predicts the app will be ready by May 2016.
That’s where it’s playing catchup with the Paragon, which already has an app and a temperature probe. However, it’s lacking anything like the SmartTop, so users exclusively utilize their own cookware with the hub. That extra piece of the Oliso puzzle — the SmartTop — is likely why it’s so much more expensive than the Paragon, which is available for pre-order for $199 (it will eventually go up to $249). SmartHub’s Kickstarter is offering at price of $249 to early birds, but that will eventually double for retail. Early backers will get their hub in December of this year, if all goes according to plan, but will have to wait until next year to get the rest of the goodies.