For all the time they save us in food preparation, burnt tongues and frozen centers are an all too common occurrence when dealing with microwaves. But former NASA engineer-turned-inventor Mark Rober reckons nuking our food shouldn't involve so much guesswork. His take on the everyday kitchen appliance offers a thermal vision display of your food as it cooks, so you know exactly when it's time to chow down.

Though it is only a prototype, in using cheap, widely available technologies Rober says there's no reason the Heat Map Microwave can't start saving your bacon right away. An infrared lens is planted on the ceiling of the microwave, streaming a thermal, birds eye view of your dish to a display where you would normally find the window.

As your food moves from cold to hot, it goes from blue, to red and to white hot when it's time to pull it out. Alternatively the microwave could be programmed to switch off automatically when it reaches this point. And the really neat thing here is that the display could quite easily be streamed to a mobile device over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, meaning you could monitor it remotely and wouldn't need to stand salivating around the microwave, peering through the window for any sign that your food is ready to go.

Rober does plan on commercializing his modern take on the microwave. But rather than turning to crowdfunding sites to raise money, he's asking people to pledge support by signing a petition, which has gathered more than 20,000 signatures at the time of writing. Rober hopes to build enough momentum through the petition to show investors his product is worth mass-producing, while also enabling him to keep his supporters in the loop on his progress and its design.

Rober offers an overview of the Heat Map Microwave in the video below.