Breakfast upgrade: 10 mind-blowing toasters. Yes, toasters.

Tech mavens love toasters enough that the first screensaver ever made was full of them (flying, of course). And while we don't see a lot of crazy original concepts for new washing machines, refrigerators or air conditioners, designers are always coming up with excellent, amusing and innovative toasters. The toaster hasn't changed much in the past 100 years, and there are just so many ways that the appliance could be improved, some more viable than others.

Click Continue to read about 10 non-Cylon toasters that we'd like to see in stores.

10. Easiest on the Fingers
A Spanish student named Franco Gottardo came up with this simple but necessary toaster innovation: instead of the toaster making bread pop out quickly and then fall down so you burn your fingers trying to get it, his Lift toaster slowly raises bread all the way to the top of the machine so that no hot metal gets between you and your breakfast.

toaster9.jpg9. The Most Cheerful
The Sunrise Wall-Mounted Toaster is designed for those who don't have windows in their kitchens (it could work for sufferers of S.A.D. as well). It's a concept toaster (i.e. not real) that becomes brighter as the toasting progresses and is at its brightest when the toast is done. In order for it to be at all useful as a kitchen light you'd have to make an awful lot of toast.

toaster8.jpg8. The Retro Tape Deck
Meet Toasty, a retro-looking concept toaster where you insert slices of bread the way you used to slide tapes into a stereo. Would kids these days even know how to use it? We like that this toaster is so small and cute, but from the looks of it, it only toasts on side at a time. As with old-fashioned cassettes, you might have flip your bread at the halfway point.

toaster7.jpg 7. It's Hot but Looks Cold
Matt Gossington's Six Part Toaster looks like a snowflake and spins like a pinwheel. Each of the six individual toast compartments can be removed from the machine. Once you get your section the toast will stay warm and crisp in it until you flip open its protective case. This concept is far, far from production, but if it were to be made we could see it becoming a diner-car staple.

toaster 6.png

6. The Messiest
Like the Lift (see above), the Toast One aims to protect your vulnerable fingers when you’ve misplaced your toaster tongs. This concept one-slice machine flips the toast for you. It has a cool look, but where's the attachment to pick up all the crumbs that fall out at the same time?


5. The Sticky Note
This concept design is meant to be used as a family bulletin board. Just jot a note on the touchscreen with the attached stylus and when your spouse comes down for to the kitchen he can read your message on his breakfast. The Toast Messenger was created by designer Sasha Tseng, and is the Palm Pilot version of the Toaster Printer (see below). We think that the designer says it best herself: "A beautiful morning begins in eating the message."

toaster4.jpg4. Travels Well
The inventors of the Rollertoaster ask on their website: "Why some products like the toasters have not progress much in the past 80 years (sic)?" Why indeed. Their Rollertoaster design looks like a portable shredder: you feed in the bread, and it comes out as toast. We think that this design could probably be improved with a rack on one end and a feeder on the other, but as is it's very portable.

toaster3.jpg3. The Fastest
Britons take their toast and tea seriously. Young British designer Oliver Newberry developed this super-fast toaster so the baked beans that he spreads on his toast don't have time to get cold. If you're American and only used to spreading butter, jam, honey, or peanut butter on your toast then you may not understand his baked-beans dilemma, but we can all appreciate a need for faster breakfast cooking times. Newberry's Turbo Toaster uses jet engine-style fans to create the perfect slice in only 50 seconds (for regular toasters, the average is 140). Of all the items on this list, this one seems least likely ever to leave the drawing board. However, it's more than just a concept: a real prototype exists and was funded by Heinz, a company that doesn't produce bread, but must hope that its baked beans continue be spread on toast as quickly as possible.

toaster2.jpg2. The Coolest
Oh Evil Mad Scientists, your endless creativity never fails to impress. Long before these ingenious folks invented the Bristlebot, they had invented a toaster printer that could toast images as subtle as faces onto white bread. How? By mounting a hot-air gun to a dot-matrix printer. The authors note that this sort of printing could be done more easily with a laser cutter, but apparently that's cheating. It's ok to brown bread with hot air, but "ablating" the surface of bread away with a high-powered CO2 laser just doesn't count as toasting. Unlike most items on this list, this one has actually been made, and it works (check out the video here). However, we're predicting that it won't go into mass production or be available as anything more than a hack until they can make it the size of a breadbox.

toaster1.jpg1. The Most Useful
If your toaster were transparent, your bread would always reach just the right shade of brown. This concept toaster was dreamed up by a company called Inventables. The idea is based on a real glass heating technology that unfortunately is not advanced enough yet to reach toasting temperatures. Printing words and pictures is one thing, watching your bread toast to perfection (with no grill lines!) is quite another. We're hoping that this is the real future of toast.

Since none of the toasters above are actually in stores, how can you cure your cool toaster craving right now? Well, there's always the Pirate Toaster, which brands your bread with the pirate skull and crossbones every time. It's available in Germany for $42, and according to a couple of comments on siphoned through Google Translate, it actually works. Now all you'll need is a gun shaped fried egg to complete your truly badass breakfast.