A refrigerator that thinks? Smart kitchens are coming

Posted: 15th April 2013

For years, appliances toiled without companionship, just disconnected boxes hidden away in kitchens and basements. That’s all about to change. The next appliance to go in your kitchen still won’t get out of the house much, but it will at least talk to the outside world.

Manufacturers are already building “smart” home appliances that can interact with their owners and with each other, connect to smartphones, call a repairman when something is wrong, and even negotiate rates with the power company.

A few Samsung refrigerators, like the RF4289HARS, have built-in touch-screens that can keep track of the food in your fridge, and find recipes to match that inventory. And like tablets or smartphones, these fridges can also run apps and hook up to social-media networks.

Many of LG’s recent appliances include a feature called Smart Diagnosis, which can streamline the process of repairing an appliance. If something happens, owners can find out what’s wrong by calling LG customer service and holding the phone up to a tiny speaker that plays an audible diagnostic code. If the problem is minor, like a clogged vent or water filter, owners will get instructions on how to fix it on their own. If something has really gone wrong, the repair team will already know what needs to be fixed when they arrive.

In the laundry room, GE washing machines with CleanSpeak can pass information to their companion dryers about how much moisture is left in the clothes, and how long the drying cycle should last.

While manufacturers are working hard to make the kitchen of the future happen as soon as possible, there just isn’t much consumer demand yet. Smart appliance sales totaled a modest $613 million in 2012,according to Pike Research. That’s a fraction of the worldwide bottom line.

 

 

Source: Delawareonline.com. Read the full article here.

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