The Future of Refrigerators: Smart Fridges

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The world of technology moves quickly, bringing us innovative devices that shape our lives in new and exciting ways. One of the most exciting new developments in technology as of late is that of the smart home – the ability for all the electronics in your home to be synced up and controlled digitally. While the living room and bedroom have seen the greatest advancements of smart home devices, one area of the home that’s been relatively ignored is the kitchen. That is, until now.

Modern refrigerators already do some interesting things, but when you throw in a touch screen and an Internet connection, you can get some really cool results. This isn’t stuff of the far-off future, either. Samsung recently released their first smart fridge, which comes packed with some amazing features. Here are some of the capabilities we’re already seeing in smart fridges today – and some of the features we’ll be seeing soon enough.

Smart Cooling

As smart as a refrigerator might be, its main purpose is still to keep your food and drinks properly cooled. But while “dumb” refrigerators might require you to turn a physical knob to adjust the refrigerator’s temperature, Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator gives you finer control. One area of the fridge you can switch between five temperatures–from below zero to a little above freezing– at the touch of a button.

That’s a pretty neat feature all in itself, but the ability to finely control your refrigerator temperatures is sure to see some fine-tuning in the near future. No doubt, we’ll eventually be able to control the entirety of the fridge to whatever degree we like. Perfect if you like your drinks extra cold.

Automatic Grocery Ordering

The Samsung fridge has another peculiar feature: every time you close the refrigerator doors, the appliance will take a picture on the contents inside and beam it to the cloud. Wherever you are, you can see what you’re running low on and stock up accordingly.

But what’s better than a picture of the contents of your fridge? How about a fridge that can use these pictures to determine for itself what you’re running low on and automatically order for you? This concept might be a little pie-in-the-sky for today, but it seems to be a future we’re headed towards. As companies such as Google refine their image recognition algorithms, machines are getting better and better at understanding the contents of pictures. Paired with services like Amazon’s drone delivery service, there might come a time when you never again have to write a shopping list or visit the store.

Your Kitchen’s Smart Hub

First and foremost, a refrigerator’s job is to keep its food safe. But we all know that the fridge can act as a sort-of organization center for the home, where we keep calendars, to-dos, and pictures of our friends and family. Smartly, the Samsung fridge has anticipated this use and includes a touch screen embedded in its surface. From this screen, you can access a number of apps, including a photo gallery, recipe book, and music players like Pandora and TuneIn. And you thought your ice cube dispenser was cool.

This touch screen feature is extra convenient because it gives you access to services you already use on your phone, but it also points at a growing trend in smart home appliances. More and more, we’re trusting our devices with our information, which is sometimes best left private and secure. Clearly, we’ll need to stay increasingly diligent in how we use our smart-enabled appliances, no matter what awesome features they provide us.

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