Why replace an entire fridge when you can stick a camera inside the one you have?
LAS VEGAS—Companies love to debut as many “smart” home products as possible at CES to show that Wi-Fi in anything could make your life easier. LG is a perfect example as it just announced a new smart refrigerator (pricing info not disclosed yet) and the plan to put Wi-Fi in a number of its connected appliances. But investing in the smart home doesn’t mean you have to drop thousands of dollars on a whole new fridge or oven. At CES, the London-based company Smarter announced its new FridgeCam, a small circular camera you stick on the inner door of your refrigerator to monitor the food you have.
One of the most practical uses of any smart fridge is the ability to see what food you have (and don’t have) even when you’re not home. FridgeCam focuses on this: every time you close the refrigerator’s door, the FridgeCam snaps a photo of the contents inside. That photo is instantaneously sent to your smartphone in the Smarter app where you can pull it up when you’re grocery shopping or on a whim if you want to check your food supply. The camera and app combo is smart enough to know when you finish a certain product, and it’ll add that item to your shopping list automatically. In addition, the app will alert you to pick up needed items when you’re out and near a grocery store. But FridgeCam is also smart enough to know when you move food around, so it won’t get confused and add ketchup to your list when your current bottle is just living on a different shelf.
In an effort to reduce food waste, Smarter’s app can keep track of food expiration dates, too. This feature will have the app send you alerts when a certain food is close to going bad, hoping you’ll eat it and use it up before it becomes inedible. The Smarter app also has a feature called Smarter Chef, which suggests recipes you can make using the food currently in your refrigerator. The theory is that if you’re given instructions on how to cook a good meal using just the food you already have, you’ll be more likely to use it rather than buying additional food you don’t currently need (or giving up completely and ordering takeout).
It’s kind of a bummer that the FridgeCam can’t provide a live look into your fridge like some smart refrigerators can, however that type of feature would drastically reduce battery life. Since FridgeCam only takes photos and lies in sleep mode most of the time, Smarter estimates it will last six months on a single charge. When it needs more power, you can simply take the camera out of the fridge and charge it via a USB Type C port. Considering its affordable £100/$150 price tag, FridgeCam is a practical way you can invest in making your home smarter without digging deep into your bank account to replace an entire appliance. Smarter’s FridgeCam will debut this spring and is available for preorder now.