The design of microwave ovens hasn’t changed substantially since they gained widespread home use in the 1970s. They are still bulky, rectangular boxes with a few controls next to the door. The generator inside them, the magnetron, leads to hotspots, so part of your food might be stone-cold and another part red-hot, even if you have a working turntable.
But, as New Scientist reports, microwave ovens may finally be hauled into the 21st century, thanks to smaller, high-efficiency sources of microwave energy called laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors (LDMOS).
For instance, the Hertford, UK-based Wayv Technologies is creating a foot-tall, rechargeable microwave that’s shaped like a thermos and designed for camping and outdoor traveling. It can fit up to 16 ounces of food or drink, and will sell for $199 starting next year.
While the Wayv microwave needs to be recharged after about 30 minutes of use, the technology indicates that microwaves could be getting a lot less bulky in the future. And in some cases, being able to pop a microwave in your backpack may outweigh the inconvenience of having to recharge it.
[h/t New Scientist]