The Smart Fridge Syndrome – Bankrate.com
Imagine a refrigerator that warns you’re about to run out of milk, reads aloud recipes as you prepare dinner and even displays slideshows of your family. Well, guess what? This isn’t the stuff of sci-fi, nor is it a sketch on some industrial designer’s desk. It’s available now, courtesy of the Internet of Things.
It’s called a smart refrigerator, or smart fridge for short. At least, that’s the generic name. A few of these AI-endowed appliances prefer to style themselves as the “Refreshment Center” or “Family Hub.”
High tech fetches a high price: $2,000 to $5,000 is a common range for these state-of-the-art refrigerators, and some even mount into the five figures. Let’s look at all the revolutionary things smart fridges can do, and if they’re worth the cost.
How do smart fridges work?
For its fundamental cooling and freezing functions, a smart refrigerator works similarly to a regular refrigerator. It just has some upgrades that helps to integrate the appliance into our modern, cloud-connected lives.
A smart fridge links to the internet. Just like any wireless device you may have, you’ll connect your smart fridge to your home’s Wi-Fi network, which in turn allows it to connect to the internet. Once connected, it will be able to provide a number of functions, including interacting with other internet-connected devices via the cloud.
This is key to all the cool things the fridge can do — its “smart” features. You’ll be able to access these features through your phone, using an app that is made by the fridge’s manufacturer. You can also connect some smart fridges to smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. You can even have your smart fridge interact with other smart home devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi network or managed through a smart hub like Apple Home or Google Home.
What do smart fridges do?
What a smart fridge is capable of doing will depend somewhat on the model that you buy. But there are plenty of features that you’ll find available in most models of smart fridges.
Typical features include voice-activated controls that allow you to set timers and temperatures, look up recipes, issue alerts if a door’s ajar or a light bulb burns out or add items to your grocery list. Most smart fridges also have an internal camera that shows you what is on its shelves at any given moment and the shape it’s in (is that cheese turning green?). You can also scan items to create an inventory, so the fridge can keep track of what you have and when it’s time to buy more.
Most smart fridges also have a built-in touch screen, which can display lots of information: recipes, calendars, family photos and any number of other things you may want to see. You can even pull up videos or move the show that you were watching in the living room to the door of your smart fridge so you don’t miss a key scene.
Thanks to the app, you can access many of these features from afar — so you can see if you should swing by the supermarket on the way home for more ice cream, or check the fridge’s bottled water supply while in the middle of the …….