By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 12, 2015

As much as microwaves make cooking ridiculously easy, they are also notoriously bad for cooking things properly—like burning popcorn or charring the outside of a burrito while the middle is still frozen.

Well, a YouTuber thinks he’s solved the problem by inventing a better microwave—what he calls the “Heat Map Microwave.”

Now, to take a step back, this isn’t just any YouTuber. The man behind the Heat Map Microwave is Mark Rober, who Gizmodo points out is a “former NASA JPL engineer…who worked on little projects like the Curiosity Mars rover.”

Rober’s ingenious twist on the microwave is to build an infrared camera into the appliance and have the heat map information it generates display on an LED screen at the front of the machine. The color-coded heat map—with a very straightforward blue for cold, red for hot, white for cooked all the way through—will give you something more beneficial to watch than your soup bowl turning.

According to Rober’s promotional video for the product, the idea is patented and a prototype has been built (though he doesn’t show it). He also points out that turning the front of your microwave into a digital screen could lead to all sorts of other fun microwave innovations, such as pulling up recipes—or maybe going to YouTube to watch more Mark Rober videos.

But what really sells me personally on Rober’s concept is that he’s not promoting it on Kickstarter. He claims to have other backers lined up, he’s just gauging interest in the product with a petition on

We assume offices everywhere will want this to prevent that lingering stench of burnt popcorn.