Smart Refrigerators

Did you know that the first Internet-connected “smart” refrigerator was plugged in more than 17 years ago, in 1998? It still runs today and serves a single purpose: to record when it is opened and closed. As of lunchtime this afternoon, this smart refrigerator has been opened more than 73,000 times and counting.

As technology has progressed, the variety of ways that owning a smart refrigerator can improve our lives has grown exponentially. One day, every home will have a refrigerator that is plugged into the Internet. When we look into the near future, we see a variety of reasons that owning a smart refrigerator will become a way of life:

Energy savings.

Refrigerators are the second largest energy consumers in a home (right after the air conditioner). Smart refrigerators will be able to develop algorithms based on owners’ habits and adjust the internal temperature during low-peak times to conserve energy, which helps save a lot of money.

Reduced waste.

How often do you buy produce, forget about it, and throw it away a week later after it has gone bad? By keeping track of the items that it is holding, a smart refrigerator will be able to suggest recipes that efficiently use all of your ingredients, so nothing goes bad. Also, it reduces the time you stand with the door open while searching for something to eat, which lowers your energy usage.

Increased convenience.

Imagine never returning from the grocery store to realize you’ve forgotten one essential ingredient again. Your smart refrigerator will be able to keep track of your regular food stock, create a shopping list as things get low, and send it straight to your smartphone while you’re at the supermarket.

Better health management.

Owning a smart refrigerator will make being on a specific diet more convenient than ever. Whether you are counting calories, avoiding carbs or tracking specific ingredients due to food allergies, your smart refrigerator will be able to manage the ingredients in your food and track what you’re eating, so that maintaining a healthy diet will never be a hassle again.

The refrigerator described above might sound like it belongs in a Sci-Fi movie, but the technology already exists for all of these functions. One day in the near future, this refrigerator will be in many of our homes, making our lives easier.

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