USB-powered baked-bean microwave


58 Responses to “USB-powered baked-bean microwave”

  1. TroofSeeker says:

    I eat a lot of those little single-serving, microwave thingies- stew, beans, spaghetti, and such. This little dude looks like it work work with any of those.

    “…making a tiny microwave oven is likely to make it less energy-efficient, not more.” Are you suggesting, Mr. Smith, that this little microwave would consume more energy than the big one in the break room? Or just that size-for-size, the big one is more efficient?
    Oh, and Fog-On-The-Moon, it looks like it would fit in your bottom file drawer; just throw out those stupid old files. Paper. Bah!

  2. indiebass says:

    Forget all that. Even if I can’t get the Beanzawave in the U.S. (which, I’ll admit, from a practical physics standpoint sounds like something the scientific advisers from The Core came up with) I would love love LOVE to get the Snap Pots of beans over here. It seems like a great way to moderate the bean intake. Since, generally, I open a can of Heinz beans, I eat a can of Heinz Beans. It looks like the perfect size for one piece of toast!

  3. caipirina says:

    somehow I want one .. not that I EVER eat baked beans … and imagine the stink in the office …

    I rather have a usb quickfreeze which can turn water into ice cubes within a minute … for the much needed office gin & tonics !

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are the individual bean cups available in the US yet?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think the guiness balls have nitrous oxide in them

  6. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Baked beans are nasty. And, yes, I’m from Boston, so I’m an expert.

  7. bigfatgreg says:

    This thing needs some WoW branding. Love that the guy in the article is wearing a suit. The closest someone in a suit comes to using this thing is a suit jacket + sweat pants – shirt. All this being said I want one really, really bad.

  8. InsertFingerHere says:

    This is abuse of a USB port. They are not designed to power heating elements. Show some compassion.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The carbon footprint of this entire scheme makes the Baby Jesus weep.

    Either that or it’s a viral-marketing gag and we’ve all been had.

  10. japroach says:

    Its not a heating element, its a microwave.

    But still, even at 100% efficiency, I don’t see how 2.5W of power will heat that cup of beans up in under a minute.

  11. mdh says:

    Anonymous @ 2 – the Guinness widget has Nitrogen (N2) gas, not nitrous (N2O) to make the cascade you see.

  12. Doran says:

    I’m waiting for the USB powered pot still.

  13. lightbender says:

    Was I the only one thinking not to go near the cubicle or office of the person who has a dedicated bean heating station?

    Maybe they should pair it with a USB febreeze dispenser.

  14. Jason Rizos says:

    I have a USB coffee cup warmer. Can I just slather some canned beans on it and call it good?

  15. Anonymous says:

    bite nuker!

  16. JayeRandom says:

    This is a hoax.

  17. madsci says:

    Came here to say what #17 said. Don’t they teach thermodynamics in school these days?

    And how can we be up to comment #28 with no Fun Cooker references?

  18. apoxia says:

    This is yet another piece of evidence that points to me living out my days on a farm once all the oil runs out.

  19. Anonymous says:

    has everone forgotten about the usb george foreman grill

  20. Anonymous says:

    Cory, Anonymous @2 and MDH @7 – The widget isn’t a gas canister. It’s a pressure vessel with a small hole in it. When the entire can is pressurized with nitrogen, some of the liquid contents are forced into the widget. When the can is opened the sudden pressure difference forces the liquid out through the small hole at high velocity, foaming results.

  21. teufelsdroch says:

    dmo has a good point:

    even if you powered the thing, microwaves use light with a wavelength of 6cm, which is bigger than this device.

    Not only is THIS not a microwave, but no microwave of this size is possible. Cool!

  22. Anonymous says:

    such an elegant and refined accessory to a MacBook Air (and you get to use the only USB port LOL)

  23. gumbowing says:

    To quote the great Tom Waits:
    “Now when I was a boy
    My daddy sat me on his knee
    And he told me
    He told me many things
    And he said; son
    There’s a lot of
    things in this world
    You’re gonna have no use for
    And when you get blue
    And you’ve lost all your dreams
    There’s nothin’ like a campfire
    And a can of beans”

    From “Lucky Day”

  24. bishophicks says:

    What is being missed by commenters is the branded pairing of a food product with its own cooking appliance. Next we’ll have a differently shaped microwave designed to handle standard size single-serving microwave lunches (the “Lean Cuisine Microwave Beam Machine”). Sized for your desk and work, and having only one button.

    Other food/specialty appliance pairings are limited only by our imaginations.

  25. teufelsdroch says:

    yeah, the article claims thermodynamics is violated because

    “the key breakthrough is the use of a combination of mobile phone and radio frequencies to create the heat to cook both on the outside and within in under a minute.”

    wavelength of cell phones is in the 1 meter range, so the problem gets worse.

    You COULD build a microwave operating at 800-900 MHz, but it’d be HUGE.

  26. mackenzi says:

    Last I heard they’re teaching plasmadynamics in school. No need to SQ3R or check math there.

  27. Frank W says:

    There went my last reason to ever get out of my seat.

  28. airship says:

    Am I the only one who has no trouble eating cold beans?

  29. 2bithacker says:

    The linked article doesn’t say the microwave is USB powered, it just says it has a USB port. The images show a USB Type A plug connected to it, which would indicate that it’s the Host side of a USB connection. Devices use a Type B plug.

    If I had to guess, this device is AC powered and happens to have a USB jack for powering another device, such as charging a cell phone or something.

  30. Teapunk says:

    Used in a cubicle in an office with aircondition this amounts to biological warfare.
    Pretty design, tho.

  31. Brainspore says:

    @ Airship #38:

    We know it’s you, Rorschach.

  32. Anonymous says:

    sweet, hot pockets in my mini-freezer and a small portable microwave to cook them in instead of a large, heavy normal microwave.

  33. airship says:

    Bwa ha ha ha ha! :)

  34. Anonymous says:

    This is clearly a hoax.
    It would take about 5 minutes to raise the temperature of a 200g pot of beans by one degree C with the power available from a USB port, assuming 100% efficiency.

  35. Noah Lieske says:

    Are the individual bean cups available in the EU yet? Noah Lieske

  36. foop says:

    Viral marketing.

    As already pointed out, 2.5W from a USB port isn’t going to get you anywhere. At 100% efficiency, it would take over two and a half minutes to raise the temperature of a 100g pot of water by 1°C. YMMV with beans, but this is so obviously a non-starter.

    There’s a reason that microwaves suck up so much juice – it’s ’cause there’s no such thing as a free (hot) lunch.

  37. alexdagrate says:

    There’s both nitrogen and carbon dioxide in Guinness.

    The beer itself is pressurized with both gasses, and this causes the gasses and beer to be forced into the widget through a small hole in the widget.

    When the can is opened and the pressure released, the pressurized mix of beer and gas is suddenly discharged through the small hole and causes the sudden formation of small bubbles, much smaller than the carbon dioxide bubbles seen in most beers.

  38. Eric Smith says:

    The claim that a microwave oven is more of an “energy hog” than a refrigerator is absurd, and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of energy and thermodynamics. Microwave ovens are actually more energy-efficient than refrigerators, and making a tiny microwave oven is likely to make it less energy-efficient, not more.

    The only way that thing could work in a useful manner is if it also contains a rechargeable battery that it charges when the microwave is not operating. That’s going to make it even LESS efficient.

  39. Fee says:

    This is why we are going to hell in a handcart. People would rather burn the planet than a few calories cooking their food. Would rather fill up their tank of cheap petrol than walk.

    This is why we’re fat and the planet is dying. Stop it!

  40. Gilbert Wham says:

    #28: You forgot the crispy bacon lardons…

  41. ariadneallan says:

    I’m with #36 on the nauseating drive to brand everything. My particular fav is the branding of basic items like a head of lettuce (really, a head of lettuce is a head of lettuce is a head of lettuce, unless you actually know all the details on its growing and harvesting history. Even then, I guarantee you’re still missing vital info. Most of that offered info is just a marketing ploy anyway…). But I digress…

    #31 is going in the right direction. What I want is a USB blender! Party time at my desk!

  42. kryptik says:

    I’m not interested unless it comes bundled with a USB toaster.
    Don’t get me started on the environmental implications of individual portions of beans in non-recyclable styrene containers. The mini cans Heinz make have ringpulls, and are 100% recyclable, though not microwaveable.
    With USB pumping out 2.5W, I strongly suspect this is a [very successful] viral, and not a real product

  43. wizardofplum says:

    Lor tunderin’ Jasus,Cory,only a rabid Philistine
    would taint Guiness with an accelerant.The world is coming apart at the seams,the ultimate horror
    canned Guiness.Forgive them Lord for they know not

  44. Big Ed Dunkel says:

    Bakes beans? Around my office, it’s speak softly and carry a big Slim Jim.

  45. dmoisan says:

    I have to call BS on the device being a microwave. Yes, you could have beans in coffee pods and heat them up.

    But take a close look at the device: Where is the magnetron?

    Most microwaves, even small ones, have the magnetron on the side and use a waveguide to direct the waves from the magnetron to the top of the oven cavity.

    That waveguide has to be a certain size due to physics (about 1″ x 2″ in most ovens I’ve seen.) The magnetron is of a certain size, too. It for sure won’t be the size and wattage of the 800W maggy in your microwave, but it won’t be dimensionless.

    There’s no room for the waveguide.

    And no room for the magnetron.

    There’s no room for anything in that oven. At best it looks like it could fit one of those coffee-warmer heating elements, which the device would most resemble if not for the door. I’ll grant it could just fit the control module.

    The prospective weight of it–magnetrons are, well, magnets and heavy!–and the handle remind me of the old days when a 100-lb TV set could have a handle and thus be considered portable even when it broke and smashed your TV down the bedroom stairs in pieces.

    And power? Let’s say it’s smaller than the smallest microwaves, which are about 600W so far as I know. Let’s say 300. Do I hear 250? 150? 100? (does it even scale down there?)

    That is NOT going on USB.

    (Though if anyone knows of a USB hub that can dissipate that much power, please give me a link, so I don’t blow out my server hooking up a commercial music library that happens to come on a 2.5″ external disk with a USB power source. :))

    Anyone that can shrink a microwave oven down to that size will not be developing it for things like this, guaranteed.

    It probably has a traditional heating element or a Peltier, and a very minimal control panel. Might even work. Might even run off a wall wart. The beans might even taste good! But it’s not a microwave.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Strictly speaking, the beans will be microwaved if you just leave them sitting on your desk. Just not enough to heat them up.

  46. Anonymous says:

    If carbonated beans existed, I would HAVE to get a bulldog and feed him that wonderful invention before heading to the dog park. People would go to pat his head, then get strange looks on their faces and back away…

    If the very notion of a bulldog slopping-up fizzy beans doesn’t make you laugh, you’re not enjoying yourself enough. Or maybe I’m just easily amused.

    Either way, the bean cooker here is a hoax, but it got me thinking about the idea of fizzy beans. Thanks, Cory.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen the snap pots in the UK, not sure about ‘the EU’ considering it consists of many different countries that might not have Heinz products sold in them.

  48. hadlock says:

    I think I saw this on an episode of 30 rock. Except it was red.

  49. fogonthetoon says:

    You don’t have snap pots in the US? How quaint! It’s not often us in the UK get to say that, so I thought I’d better take my chance.

    Plus I love the thought trying to install a mini-microwave at my desk- the Health & Safety goons would be like flys to youknowtherest.

  50. Avram / Moderator says:

    BishopHicks @36: What is being missed by commenters is the branded pairing of a food product with its own cooking appliance.

    You mean like Keurig coffee makers, which have been around for some years now?

  51. Lady Katey says:

    Antinous @ #3- ditto and ditto, man. I’m protesting this not because it’s killing the environment, but because baked beans MUST be stopped!

  52. TroofSeeker says:

    I thought it was rude to eat beans at work.

    Antinous / Moderator: “Baked beans are nasty. And, yes, I’m from Boston, so I’m an expert.”

    Weren’t you from Palm Springs a little while ago? [Ref: the Goth article]
    That’s fine, keep ‘em guessing!
    P.S.- I know I really piss you off sometimes, Anti, but it’s never my MO. I’m a frickin’ mutant, and a very happy one at that, so where else can I go? (go ahead and say it. I deserve it.)

  53. Anonymous says:


    Baked beans on toast with grated mature cheddar and dangerous levels of black pepper.


    Take your bean-hate elsewhere!

  54. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Carbonated beans?

    Cory, you’re a sick, sick man.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Conceptually speaking, this thing is bl**dy brilliant; I need one and I want one. Could boil the water for a cuppa in a recycled Snap Pot :)

  56. stegodon says:

    With a few tweaks it might work… first, shape it like an orc’s head, so that you place the “bean packet” into his mouth to heat it. You are also going to want a tube that could attach from the bean packet directly to a headset that would enable uninterrupted feeding/Ventrilo.

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