"This has got to be the coolest gadget yet for the kitchen: a fridge freezer that is hooked up to the internet."
Breathless words from the frontier of technology – in
And, as it noted, "you can also keep food in it".
This peculiar dream of the internet fridge just won't die.
Reality check: no, you won't. Well, you might be able to text it, but you shouldn't rely on the answer.
Why not? Because people don't use fridges in that way. I have an electronics clippings file bulging with promises made year after year that this time, the internet fridge is "finally here". In 2009 Samsung offered a fridge with a detachable LCD screen with a message board for "smart food management". Now? No sign of it. In 2010 LG suggested you'd want a fridge with internet access so you could stay tuned to the internet (huh?) while you got a drink. The product never appeared. In 2011 Samsung (again) offered a new internet fridge, the Futuristic RF4289 (catchy name, eh?) with an 8in touch screen – a snip at
Price aside, the fact is that making a fridge that knows what's inside it, and whether those contents are close to expiry or risk making you expire, cannot be done. Here's why.
For your fridge to know what's inside it, either you have to scan the packaging every time you take something in or out (else your fridge will think it contains 14,000 milk cartons), or the food inside the fridge has to be able to "tell" the fridge about itself.
The scanning thing is a non-starter. You'll inevitably forget, and then you'll have to clear the fridge and put everything back, laboriously scanning each time. Also, barcodes don't contain information about expiry dates, so you'd have to enter those by hand. Such fun!
The alternative quickly offered by geeks is that the packaging for those items could contain
The problem here is that you'd struggle to persuade food packagers to include
This is the heart of the problem: until most people have an
So forget the internet fridge. Anyone who offers it is, as they have been for the past 15 years, just trying to get noticed. But it will never, ever arrive. Want to know what's in your fridge? Look at your shopping list – or even better, open the door and look inside. It's a low-tech method, but has a 100% guaranteed success rate.
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