When you’ve been writing about tech long enough, it’s hard not to get a little jaded at the iterative products that come out every year. It’s rare that something really makes me say ‘wow’ nowadays.
So color me surprised when one of the most impressive product demos I’ve seen in months happened to be a kitchen appliance. Unlike the things on your counter that heat things up, the Juno cools things down. Fast. It can chill anything from a can of soda to ice-cold temperatures in under two minutes, a bottle of wine in five. It can even cool down fruits and veggies if you’re so inclined.
I was able to demo a prototype, and the claims hold true. It’s sorcery. It’s science. It’s the anti-toaster.
The Juno is created by a company called Matrix, which specializes in thermoelectric devices. You may remember it for its body heat-powered smartwatch. Now it’s leveraging its technology to make sure you can always have a cold drink.
The device takes advantage of something called the Peltier effect to achieve its rapid cooling. My demo involved a prototype device that, unlike the final unit, was transparent to show its inner workings.
The Juno folks put a warm soda can in the machine – I confirmed it was at an unappetizing room temperature – in the device and water rapidly surrounded it. The machine swirled water around and spun the can rapidly, essentially sucking the heat out of the soda.
A little over a minute later, the can emerged from its wash cycle as if it had been sitting in the fridge overnight. If I wanted it even colder, I simply had to leave it in the machine longer – it can apparently cool a drink down to just above freezing. The company then assured me the can wouldn’t blow up my face after all that motion thanks to fancy spinning calibration. I drank the can suspiciously, but there was no evidence of witchcraft – just a cold drink.
There are other aspects I appreciate about the Juno besides its science. The machine has no touchscreen, no app, no WiFi. You only display is a thin LED that changes from red to blue as your beverage cools down. Your only interface is three buttons used to adjust settings.
Not everything needs to be part of the internet of things, so this is a welcome decision, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a kitchen appliance, and it’s as easy to use as your blender or microwave.
Juno says it isn’t just about letting you have a cold drink either; its product could have a positive environmental impact. A lot of energy is wasted refrigerating drinks indefinitely when they’d be just fine at room temperate until they needed to be cooled. Some people have separate a separate wine coolers or beer fridge; the Juno would remove the need for those things. And it achieves cooling without harmful refrigerants and other chemicals.
At this point, Juno can take my money, but it’ll be a while before you can get your hands on one. Juno is available to pre-order via Indiegogo starting at $199 for early birds, and $300 for the rest.
Published January 6, 2020 — 19:14 UTC