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The Tricky Problem of Making Smart Fridges Smart

By Technology Review

January 15, 2014

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Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers have developed CloudFridge, a prototype smart refrigerator system designed to study and improve the user experience.

"Our main claim...is that a testbed geared towards evaluating realistic user experiences could be the catalyst for innovations in the field," says KAIST's Thomas Sandholm.

CloudFridge is equipped with an object-recognition system that is designed to work without the user doing anything other than taking items in and out of the fridge. CloudFridge also has a Webcam that photographs each item as it is put into or taken out of the fridge and sends the resulting image to Google's Search By Image service. The prototype also uses infrared sensors to accurately measure the position of objects placed in the fridge. Finally, CloudFridge has a set of red or green light-emitting diodes that can spotlight objects in the fridge to bring them to the user's attention, perhaps because they need replacing or are close to their "use by" dates.

"We are also planning on adding social features to share your fridge content with friends or compare tastes to be able to get collaborative filtering-based and social recommendations," Sandholm says.

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