It looks like the microwave oven as we've always known it is about to become obsolete.
The Adventurer is a portable battery-powered microwave the size of a Thermos. Campers, hikers, and anyone else away from the grid can make a hot meal in minutes without a fire. Camp cooking could get a whole lot easier.
The three-pound Adventurer is more than a handy piece of kit, though. This is one of the first fruits of a new technology that could not only nuke your lunch on the go, but also make an impact in areas as diverse as crop protection and oil extraction.
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Portable gadgets like the Adventurer are just the start—solid-state microwave sources are driving a new generation of kitchen appliances ... "The 'more controllable' feature cannot be overestimated," says Klaus Werner, executive director of the RF Energy Alliance, an organiation dedicated to realizing the potential of this technology. "It gives you perfect process control via fast control loops. The Magnetron is very slow at best. Sensitive processes such as food pasteurization, blood thawing, sous vide cooking or pharmaceutical reactions all benefit greatly from this technology."
Looking further afield, Werner says that solid state has myriad other possibilities. "The technology allows a number of hitherto impossible radio-frequency applications—automotive ignition, radio-frequency ablation, hypothermia treatment, plasma lighting, novel industrial heating systems..."
At the extreme end of the microwave revolution is a novel alternative to fracking. Rather than injecting the ground with chemicals at high pressure to force hydrocarbons out of shale, Peter Kearl and colleagues at Qmast LLC use microwaves ... The highly efficient heating provided by microwaves also makes them appealing for crop protection. Vines in particular are vulnerable to frost after new leaves break out. The traditional protection is to set out thousands of frost candles to warm the air, which are spectacular but inefficient. Some wine growers are now experimenting with microwave-based heating ... in which a series of emitters bathe the vines in gentle warmth when frost threatens. Someday, maybe solid-state microwaves will take our wines to a better state.
There's more at the link.
All this sounds fascinating, but what will exposure to such radiation do to humans in the area? Current microwaves employ heavy shielding to protect those around them. Even though the new technology emits much less radiation than traditional magnetron microwave ovens, won't even that lower radiation put people at risk? After all, it's just been alleged by a very authoritative source that cellphone radiation - which is a tiny fraction of that from microwave emitters - is potentially hazardous to our health. Who will guarantee - can anyone guarantee - that we don't face any risk from the new microwave appliances?