In today’s world, it seems everything is getting “smart.” It began with smartphones, smartwatches, smart homes, and even smart cars! So, it should come as no surprise that we now have smart fridges. So, what can a smart fridge do?
First, a brief history of the refrigerator
The technology of the standard electric refrigerator has essentially remained unchanged for over a century. It began in 1913 when Fred W. Wolf invented the first electric refrigerator for domestic use. It was called the Domelre, which stands for DOMestic ELectric REfrigerator. Although, Fred’s 1913 invention never really took off, in 1918 William Durant, who started the Frigidaire Company, took the fridge to new heights and was able to launch a refrigerator bonanza by inventing a fridge that was self-contained with a compressor at the bottom.
Although the 1920s saw the refrigerator making its way into more and more homes, only the ultra-wealthy could afford such a convenience. The price tag on a new fridge in the 1920s was a staggering $1,000 USD. Eventually, though, refrigerators became more affordable as time went on. By the 1930s, when freon was introduced as the refrigerant, fridges started to become a norm in the American home.
By 1950, the vast majority of American homes had refrigerators. However, refrigerator ownership still prevailed as an American experience. During the same decade, refrigerator ownership in Britain was a mere 2%.
Eventually, though, the world began to catch up, and by the turn of the century, refrigerators could be found in the poorest corners of the world.
Introduction of the smart fridge
By the early 2000s, the idea of connecting a refrigerator to the internet started to become popularized, but the idea still seemed very futuristic. However, by 2015, smart fridges began to be a regular fascination at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and by 2020, smart fridges are part of the regular line-up at any home appliance store or home improvement store.
What can a Smart fridge do?
Smart fridges almost always feature a touchscreen and are connected to the internet. They are essentially a computer connected to your fridge.
Smart fridges can:
- let you see what’s inside without opening the fridge because they have internal cameras.
- give you more cooling options.
- let you monitor your fridge (and control your fridge settings) remotely.
- serve up recipes on demand.
- monitor food expiration dates.
- give you a whiteboard so you can communicate with family members. This replaces the traditional magnet-based pad.
- give you a TV while you are in the kitchen.
- warn you when its time to replace the filter and clean your refrigerator.
Refrigerators have long-been one of those home appliances that truly stand the test of time, with life-expectancies of 20 or 30 years! A smart fridge completely changes that. Because smart fridges are essentially computers, you can expect them to become “obsolete” within five years or so. Is this worth it? You be the judge.