Bosch’s Projector Turns Your Countertop into a Touchscreen

Senior Editor, Tom's Guide
Updated

LAS VEGAS—Like many people, I have limited counter space in my kitchen, and am loath to fill it up with another appliance, no matter how cool it is. Bosch's new PAI smart projector aims to make the most of your counter, without taking up any space at all. 

The PAI, which stands for Projection And Interaction, is a small rectangular box that mounts to the underside of your kitchen cabinet (the unit shown in the photo was attached to a silver bracket for demonstration purposes) and beams an image onto the countertop below. Cameras and sensors in the PAI detect your hand movements, so you can tap and swipe on the counter as you would a touchscreen to use the PAI interface. In my brief hands-on with it, the PAI seemed very responsive.

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But the PAI goes well beyond merely looking up recipes. A vision intelligence system can identify objects placed underneath the PAI, and suggest actions; for example, I placed a steak on the counter (it was a plastic model), and the PAI not only brought up a recipe, but also scanned the thickness of the steak, and told me how long I needed to cook it for it to come out medium rare. The PAI (which will work with Alexa and Google Assistant, of course) can also be linked to other Bosch connected appliances, so it could automatically turn your oven on to the proper temperature.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideAnother neat feature: The PAI can help you with cake decorating and slicing. Place a cake underneath, and it will project a pattern onto the confection, which you can then use as a guide for icing. When it comes time to slice the cake, the PAI can project dividing lines. You can even choose into how many pieces you want to slice the cake. I especially liked that the cake doesn't have to be perfectly centered under the projector—the PAI can recognize where the middle of the cake is, and project the lines accordingly.

Because the PAI runs Android, you can also download apps and use it for checking up on social media, watch movies, and more, all without smudging up a display with dirty hands. 

One big caveat here: You'll need a light-colored countertop in order to see the PAI's projection properly. But since it won't be available in the U.S. for at least a year, that gives you plenty of time to remodel your kitchen.