The design of the microwave oven has changed very little since the first commercially popular countertop microwave, the Radarange, came out in 1967. It was a box with some controls on the righthand panel.
Designer Jake Rich set out to rethink the look of the microwave oven. His round, simplified design resembles something straight out of The Brave Little Toaster, and is intended to function with the intuitive ease of a stovetop.
Mediumwave has about the same diameter as a large plate, and two wheels allow you to slide the pod around the counter with ease. Rather than a mess of digital buttons you barely use (preset popcorn buttons), there's just a dial to adjust the power level, and a timer that you push to start cooking.
The translucent domed lid allows you to see your food cooking from all angles. When you lift the lid, the microwave stops, so you can reach in and stir your food just as you would a pot on the stove. The light inside dims and brightens according to how high the power level is. Plus, the fully removable top eliminates the disgusting experience of reaching into the innards of your dank appliance to scrub away particles of dried food debris stuck to the ceiling (which then inevitably fall down onto your hand).
Mediumwave was displayed at the New Designers exhibition in London last week. No word yet on when you can get one for your own kitchen—Rich says his ultimate goal is mass production, but he's still searching for the right company to make it happen.