There are few things more disappointing than taking your food out of the microwave, and finding out it is: a) a popsicle on the inside b) hot to the point that it scorches your mouth. If you’re already starving and angry going into the microwaving process, that just makes it worse.

That’s where former NASA JPL engineer Mark Rober’s ingenious idea for an infrared microwave comes in. As he explains in the video, it basically works like Predator-vision: you can visually see when your food is hot with an infrared camera that uses the front of your microwave as a monitor. The food starts out blue, then changes to red and yellow as it heats up. When the food turns white, it’s fully heated and ready to eat, and cooking stops.

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But of course, no one likes to stand around waiting for their food in front of the microwave, and Rober thought of that, too. Using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, his Heat Map microwave will send the IR images to your phone so you can monitor the cooking process. Say you’re at work, and you want to work while your food takes that 5 minutes to heat up. Using this phone app, you’d be able to not only watch your food cook, but also add more time to the clock remotely if necessary. Really, your office should be investing in one of these to increase team efficiency.

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Rober has done over a year of extensive research and development on this concept, and he’s also obtained the necessary patents because no one has come up with anything close to this idea before. He also let Gizmodo check out his prototype, and answered some questions about it.

Gizmodo asked something we probably all wondered: if you’re heating a microwave burrito, wouldn’t heating the outer layer interfere with your ability to see how hot the inside was? Here’s Rober’s answer:

“I wondered the same but according to all my testing once you are evenly heated on the outside then it meant you were good on the inside. Whenever it was still cold or even just room temp there was some kind of uneven heating on the outside still.”

You’re probably expecting this to be a pitch for yet another heartbreakingly brilliant Kickstarter that never gets funded. Rober thought of that, too: he already has financial backing for this project.

However, he wants to demonstrate to his financial backers that if the price point is right, there are enough people interested in purchasing this microwave to make it worth their while. If you’re interested, you can sign his petition and get on his email list here—no money required now, and no financial commitment necessary.

[via Mark Rober, Gizmodo]