While they’re much more compact than a conventional oven, microwave ovens can still be rather bulky and heavy. That’s because they are powered with a cavity magnetron. That sounds like some sort of futuristic technology, but it’s actually a type of vacuum tube that was developed during World War II. But those big and bulky ones could one day be a thing of the past. New Scientist reports that there’s a newer method for creating microwaves that could lead to a smaller, more efficient microwave oven.
The technology is a laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor, which is something you can find in cell phone towers, for example. But it needed at least a few modifications to turn it into a viable technology for something you’d keep on your kitchen counter.
And that’s perhaps another exciting element of this new microwave oven technology—you don’t need to keep it on a counter. In fact, one microwave oven, called Adventurer, which was crowdfunded in 2014, is basically like a large thermos that you can carry around with you. At just a bit more than three pounds, it wouldn’t likely strain your back. Though, it currently would drain a battery at least twice before finishing your meal, so it’s still in more of an experimental stage.
You can read more about a future of more efficient microwave ovens at New Scientist.