How Does a Smart Refrigerator Work — And What’s on the Horizon?

The idea of a “smart” refrigerator isn’t anything new. In fact, back in 1957, a film envisioning the year 2000 included a reference to a computerized refrigerator that could keep food fresh for up to six months and automatically dispense the ingredients needed to complete a recipe via voice controls.  While today’s smart fridges don’t have exactly those features, they have come a very long way from the iceboxes of days past. Yet for all the hype about these appliances, there are still questions about their usefulness, and how to best make use of the technology to appeal to consumers and provide real value.

Smart Refrigerators: A Short History

The first commercially available smart refrigerator actually appeared 17 years ago. In 2000, LG released a model that included a barcode scanner. As you put items in and out of the fridge, you could scan the manufacturer’s barcode to keep a running record. While this was certainly interesting, most people found the system cumbersome and not terribly useful. Few wanted to spend several thousand dollars on a refrigerator just so it could tell them that the milk had been put in and taken out 26 times.

Early smart refrigerators highlighted one of the major issues with internet-connected appliances in general: They require too much user input to be truly useful. Do you really want to scan every item as you move it in and out of the fridge? Since that first smart fridge, developers have tried to come up with other options to make the appliance more useful.

For example, one fridge used RFID technology to automatically read barcodes of items, removing the user element. The problem, though, was that not all food products are equipped with RFID technology. Another model used sensors to determine whether a product was being moved, and to send an alert when the weight of that product was getting low, ostensibly to alert the owner to the need to purchase more. The problem there was that the sensors couldn’t detect specifically which items were being removed, and which needed to be replenished.

Some of these issues are being overcome by the latest smart refrigerator models, which have interior cameras. Not sure if you’re low on milk? Simply use an app to peek inside your fridge and see if it’s time to stock up on 2 percent. These latest smart fridge models are usually equipped with a large color screen on the exterior as well, allowing you to make shopping lists, leave notes, and access the internet right from your fridge. By equipping the appliance with an efficient microcontroller and a Wi-Fi connection, users gain convenience and potentially save money by keeping better track of their grocery purchases.

Making Refrigerators Smarter

Clearly, smart refrigerators have come a long way. However, are they really “smart” yet? Many experts say no, for the simple fact that even with cameras and voice-activated list-making features, the appliance still requires user intervention to work. That is why the next generation of smart refrigerators is shifting the focus away from the contents of the fridge, and toward a more effortless design that provides information that we can actually use.

For instance, while you might not be interested in how many times the fridge is opened and closed, you are probably interested in making your appliance run as efficiently as possible, and when something is going wrong that needs to be repaired or replaced. That is why developers are working on smart refrigerators that are designed to work with smart meters, so they automatically run most efficiently at peak times. For example, most refrigerators run an auto defrost cycle as needed; with a smart fridge, that cycle, which uses more energy, can be put off until electricity rates are lower, lowering the electric bill.

Developers are also working on ways to implement technology like that in smart thermostats. Over time, your fridge could learn your patterns, such as the fact that you purchase milk every four days, and automatically add items to your shopping list, send alerts about sales, or show you how much you spend over a defined period, so you can better manage your grocery budget. The idea, though, is that this analysis will take place automatically, with little to no intervention from the user.

There are other issues with smart appliances, such as questions about privacy and the need for specific functions, but the fact is we have come a very long way. It won’t be too long before smart refrigerators are actually smart, and not just something “cool” to add to the kitchen.

By Karehka Ramey

Serious research has been undertaken to publish this content, so you're in the right place. I love technology, I believe embracing its potential for personal, business or educational advancement will pave the way forward for us all. We've all heard "knowledge is power", with this website I hope, to some degree, to empower you!

22 comments

  1. I¡¦ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Studying this information So i¡¦m happy to exhibit that I’ve a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most indisputably will make certain to don¡¦t put out of your mind this web site and give it a glance regularly.

  2. What i do not understood is actually how you are not really a lot more well-favored than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably on the subject of this matter, produced me in my opinion believe it from so many various angles. Its like men and women are not involved until it is one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times maintain it up!

  3. Thanks , I have recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what concerning the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  4. I get pleasure from, result in I found just what I used to be taking a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  5. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  6. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =). We may have a link change arrangement between us!

  7. Great weblog right here! Additionally your web site a lot up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate link in your host? I desire my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  8. Good article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  9. My husband and i felt now lucky that Raymond could round up his research out of the ideas he came across using your web site. It’s not at all simplistic just to choose to be giving freely strategies people today may have been making money from. And we also figure out we’ve got you to be grateful to for that. All of the explanations you made, the easy web site menu, the relationships you help instill – it’s most sensational, and it’s really letting our son in addition to us believe that that situation is pleasurable, and that’s extremely important. Thanks for everything!

  10. I really appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again

  11. Great write-up, I¡¦m regular visitor of one¡¦s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  12. Well I sincerely liked studying it. This tip offered by you is very helpful for good planning.

  13. I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  14. I get pleasure from, result in I found just what I used to be taking a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  15. whoah this weblog is excellent i like reading your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You know, a lot of people are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  16. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  17. I intended to send you a very small observation to say thanks the moment again on the awesome thoughts you’ve featured in this article. It has been so shockingly generous with you to provide publicly what many individuals would’ve sold for an electronic book to end up making some bucks for themselves, particularly considering the fact that you could have tried it if you ever desired. The thoughts likewise served to become a fantastic way to know that other people have the identical zeal the same as mine to see a good deal more when considering this condition. I’m certain there are millions of more pleasant times in the future for individuals that read through your website.

  18. 195530 776751Really educating story, saved your web site for hopes to read far more! 493185

  19. Wonderful site. Lots of useful info here. I’m sending it to several pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your sweat!

  20. 265861 45716Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read? 818015

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *