Image via DailyMail
When I first saw this futuristic fridge, my thought was "What ever happened to the simple insulated box that makes things cold?" The full-size touch screens look like energy wasters and the whole thing seems like an ugly addition to your kitchen. However, looking a little more closely, this fridge could actually be a solution for shrinking your overall environmental footprint. The concept was dreamed up as a project between University of Central Lancashire and online supermarket Ocado, a UK-based grocery with a mind for the planet. In fact, their tag line is "Quality groceries that won't cost the earth." A significant part of minimizing the eco-impact of food is minimizing waste -- and that is a primary purpose of this concept fridge.
According to the Daily Mail, the fridge scans its contents and comes up with recipes you can make from whatever you have in there, including your leftovers. This helps to ensure that you never waste food by forgetting about it and letting it go bad, or never figuring out what to cook with it before it expires.
It can move food around its shelves according to expiration date, so the stuff that needs to be used first is up front. And it can also reorder fresh food when needed. Plus, the designers dreamed up coordinating trashcan technology that would scan foods tossed out -- the fridge would read the data and reduce these ingredients in future meals.
How easy would it be to come home after a long day and just look at the fridge to know what you can whip up without having to go to the store for ingredients?
The screens also show you what you have inside so you don't have to open the doors to find out, and that alone is a big energy saver.
So let's say the fridge is built to the highest of energy efficiency standards, and the screens are e-paper with a smaller touch screen for navigation, or the latest in energy efficient display that stays turned off until you're ready to grab a recipe or a snack -- you also throw in zero food waste and saving energy by opening it as few times as possible, and suddenly the giant screens aren't so wasteful. However, there is also the energy use of those scanners and the shelf tiles that shuffle food around inside. But maybe it could be built to at least break even with the average fridge's energy use. There's still years before the technology dreamed up for this fridge would be realistic, so who knows what could happen.
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