Forget the internet fridge – here’s the FishWasher
Perhaps due to its comfort-giving nature, the fridge has been seen as the ideal appliance to form a smart vanguard, with fridges that monitor contents through RFID tags or barcodes, then go online to restock.
Such coolers are only the beginning, with researchers designing refrigeration into buildings, and even turning them into style accessories.
The “Community Fridge” is designed for blocks of flats, and turns the fridge into a home-based vending machine. Food and drinks are stored in a central area, and users browse contents via an app before selecting items that are shunted to flats on demand via a delivery shaft.
It’s designed to save space and energy, and extends the home network beyond a consumer’s four walls.
Cooler still is Electrolux’s green-goo-fuelled Bio Robot Refrigerator, which uses a “biopolymer gel through luminescence” to keep food cold.
With no doors or shelves, snackers push food into the gel, where it’s held in chilled suspension in a non-sticky, odourless goo that maintains each item at the right temperature while leaving it on display.
But whizzy futurology is only half the story. The smart home will also take on the more mundane tasks. LG’s smart washers, shown off at CES this year, plug into the idea of making homes work more efficiently, with tricks such as onscreen messages on connected TVs when a wash cycle finishes.
Some of the smartest ideas in home automation stand on their own as smart design, such as the BioTank “FishWasher”. Powered by a scrub-happy shoal of robotic fish, the tank holds dirty dishes that the fish clean by nibbling. The resulting fish “excrement” is then turned into biofuel.