from New Scientist, 01 October 2005
A TOASTER that uses radiation to prevent toast burning has been given the go-ahead in the UK. By combining a household smoke detector with an electric toaster, it promises to deliver "perfect toast every time".
The device works by sucking in particles of caramelised bread and blowing them through an ionising sensor. In this sensor a small electrical current flows through an airborne path of ions, emitted by a pellet of radioactive americium-241. The ions attach themselves to any toast particles and reduce the strength of the current. You can set the toaster to switch off when the current drops by a specific amount according to how brown you like your toast.
The toaster, by Magnetic Design of Cambridge, UK, has been authorised as a "justifiable" use of radiation by the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.