Vincent Chang's Blog

Vincent Chang male Former Senior Tech Writer

Vincent has written enough about tech to know that he doesn't know enough about tech. But that's not keeping him from going jargon-heavy about processors and mobos. After all, "you can't stop the signal".

Dude, where's my Internet Fridge?

Not to go all domestic here, but the thought that struck me while eating dinner was, "whatever happened to the internet fridge?" To understand that question, you'll have to know that for those who don't cook often, it can be hard keeping track of what's in the fridge and what's not. It's really not cool to come back home with a bag of groceries to find that you have just bought more of the same stuff that's already in your fridge.

Food spoils, food gets thrown away and it's such a waste when this could all be solved with an intelligent fridge. One that knows what you got in it, can show you the status of the foodstuff (is it expired?) and best of all, can summarize all this for easy reading on your mobile phone while you're on your way home from work. Sounds impossible? 

Well, the core technologies all appear to be there. A dedicated mobile phone app to access the information from your fridge, IP address for your internet-enabled fridge, and perhaps RFID tags that can identify what's in the fridge. Think of your food as library books and how the library knows what's on their shelves. In fact, if RFID is too difficult, I'm content to have some kind of barcode scanner that can relay the information of the foodstuff to the fridge.

Instead, what's little that has been shown in the market now appear to be mere gimmicks. Despite the prototype design shown here, what manufacturers like Samsung and LG have demonstrated are simply two devices shoehorned to appear like one, and not an integrated system that can do what I have described above. The reality however is that this device would not just be a consumer appliance, but one part of a networked food distribution ecology and getting so many parties to work together - supermarkets, consumer electronics companies and even the food packaging industry - doesn't seem very likely.

So yeah, I'll probably watch this happen in a SF movie on the big screen, but don't bet on it. Now, time to check when the milk's going bad....

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