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The future of refrigerators - New Technology and Design

Is a new fridge in your 5-year plan? We can help. Here's what features and technologies are on the horizon

What's in store for refrigerator design and features

At one time in our not-so-distant past, the science of refrigeration itself seemed cutting-edge and modern. Fast forward to just two years ago, and the fridge was already considered the communication hub for smart products in the kitchen.

A well-known brand at the time sported an HD screen that was used to search the Internet, play music, and even shop for groceries. That was the beauty of what a French Door refrigerator could do back then. There were cameras inside to monitor grocery supplies and notify the user when these needed replacements.

That was then. Wait until you hear about forthcoming attractions that will change the way we look at our refrigerators in the years to come.

One thing is for sure; they will play a much more significant role in our daily lives and be way smarter thanks to the Internet and other technologies.

What is particularly of interest is the technology and new designs of the fridges of the future.

At this very moment, engineers based in Sweden are looking at the various possibilities that the Internet of Things will bring to our kitchens.

Users will have more control over the refrigerators of the future in terms of food and temperature management, amongst other things. To go into more detail, one would be able to set up a replenishment system on the ingredients you’ll need for your various food recipes. You will be notified regarding the foods you are missing for preparing that delicious meal you want.

The system will tell you what you need to know regarding the nutritional content of the food and even have a nutritionist offer advice on the best food to eat.

How Future Technology Will Make Food Last Longer

It must be noted that the system we referred to previously will take some time before it gets rolled out due to the magnitude of ingredients that must be cataloged.

On further investigation, the engineers who were tasked in making weird and wonderful things happen to our refrigerators, it was discovered that food inside the fridge could cause problems should the temperature not be adjusted to increase the storage time.

There is also a need for dedicated places where one can store different varieties of food. In this regard, the French Door Refrigerator with Can Caddy makes provision for additional storage of meats and cold cuts.

New types of technologies will ensure cameras and sensors are placed inside the fridge to take note of the portions of food within a given compartment and offer guidance on how long it has been sitting there.

Why Functionality Matters for Future Fridges

Now that we know what will happen on the inside for future fridges, what about the design on the outside?

For instance, will the box-shape designs as we know it changes in time to come? Then there is the compressor technology we got used to. Will this take on a new shape?

Engineers concluded that the functionality of future refrigerators matters more than its appearance. Bear in mind that it is about enhancing the experience of consumers who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

What comes to mind is the recent introduction of glass door type refrigerators that go transparent once the user comes within close range (you'll want to keep your refrigerator clean if you ever get this feature!). What may happen next is to design a robot-like appliance that will act as your helper. This thought seems to find favor with many people.

We also spoke about compressor technology. Industry experts reckon that this is something that will continue to reign for several decades.

While there is talk about the implementation of a thermal electric chip in time to come, this concept is not as developed as compressor technology, so it may take a while still before it can be rolled out.

Another thought is to make use of what they call magneto caloric where you do not need liquid refrigerant, but precious earth metals. The problem is that it won’t reach the mass market yet.

Another huge focus right now is to produce refrigerators that are energy-efficient and durable.

Most of the modern refrigerators are up to 60 percent more energy-efficient than a decade ago. The best models use around 0.2-kilowatts per day. What made this possible is the cooling system and insulation system as well as the variable compressor speed.

But, it does not stop here. Energy consumption will experience a further 50 percent reduction during the next decade if not more. This, along with all the exciting new features that we can expect to see in refrigerators within the coming years, makes it an exciting time indeed for our kitchens.

Resources — Sandvik, CNN Business

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