Are you ready for a smarter refrigerator? Many of the kitchen appliance ideas we saw coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month focused on convenience and novelty, but several stand-out projects promise to help your fridge help you do what it’s intended to do: keep food from spoiling until you eat it.
ChillHub: The First Open-Source Icebox
FirstBuild, a community of makers, engineers and designers, was created by GE Appliances and Local Motors to develop the next generation of home appliances. One of its first projects is the ChillHub, a refrigerator with USB hubs and WiFi connectivity that allows developers to design products that expand a fridge’s capabilities.
The FirstBuild community has already started designing ChillHub devices that help track your fridge’s inventory, like the MilkyWay, a scale that lets you check exactly how much milk you have left from your phone. Other ideas the FirstBuild community has been chatting about in their forums include an alarm if the refrigerator gets too warm, temperature-controlled fruit and vegetable compartments that spritz produce to keep it fresh, micro cameras that let you view contents remotely and smart “leftover” shelves that let you know how many servings of leftover lasagna you have on hand. We’re looking forward to seeing what else they come up with.
Whirlpool: The Connected Kitchen
Whirlpool’s booth at CES showcased its vision of a kitchen they claim could be reality just five years from now, according to Mashable. It centers around a wall-mounted touchscreen that connects your devices and appliances. You’ll store food in “smart vessels” that will keep track of how much you have and how fresh it is. The kitchen will suggest recipes based on this data and remind you to eat certain items before they go bad.
LG: A Fridge with a View
In a few months, LG will start selling a refrigerator that can text you pictures of its contents. Every time you close the door, a camera mounted inside will snap a photo, which you can view from the store through LG’s HomeChat app. This quick video explains the technology.
Some of these functions, like inventory management and “eat me” reminders are already available through a variety of grocery list apps, like Fridge Pal and Prep and Pantry. But they all rely on the use to keep them updated. A connected kitchen of the future may be key to reducing the amount of food wasted in households every day. In the meantime, check out IValueFood.com for more smart strategies for wasting less food at home.