Join the fridge-o-lution


Last night, I attended a TechEd bloggers party, held in a pretty nice suite on the 40th floor of the Hyatt. (Not the 4th floor, as many of us had assumed. I realized later that this is because I’m used to the Microsoft buildings that I work in, where the first digit is the floor number. It didn’t help that the party was in the Elizabeth Suite, and there’s an Elizabeth ballroom on the 4th floor).


So, there we were, a bunch of bloggers, talking the sublime expressiveness of Cezanne’s painting of Mont Sainte-Victoire.


and then somehow we got onto the topic of technology.

There were – as there always are in such a gathering – a few TiVo fans, and we got into discusing the “wired house”, and the utility of the internet refrigerator:


The problem with the internet refrigerator is that it doesn’t go far enough. The first obvious thing to add is a way to keep track of the inventory. That can be easily added though a bar code scanner and a few weight sensors, and then your fridge can make sure that you’re alway stocked with a healthy supply of pickle slices, Miller Lite, and non-dairy whipped topping.


Do a little more, and you can have a fridge that won’t let you eat that last slice of pizza, but will let you make yourself a nice healthy salad (sans dressing, of course).


All those are great features, of course, but the real benefit comes from solving the “what’s for dinner?” problem. By tying in TiVo’s “suggestion” feature, your fridge can notice that since you bought a frozen pizza, you might also like other tomato-sauce-based products, and presto, when you come home, you not only can have the pizza, but you can also have a serving of lasagna, or a nice tomato soup.


But it gets better. Just picture this…


You’re at home on a Friday night with a date, cudling on the couch and watching the latest episode on Emeril on the Food Network. Just as Emeril finishes off making Emeril’s Taco Salad with a Roasted Poblano Buttermilk Dressing and your date leans closer, your hear your fridge say, “You could make that right now!“.


Women dig talking appliances.


Comments (10)

  1. You know, I’m here in NYC, and I’m thinking to myself "damn, I wish I was at Tech-Ed". =)

    Have fun Eric!

  2. Todd Spatafore says:

    You know Nicholas, I had the exact same thought. I always seem to miss out on the good events.

  3. jledgard says:

    This would be cool!

  4. Mikel Berger says:

    Eric Gunnerson (and other people at TechEd) stole my idea of creating the Tivo for your kitchen. :) Great minds think alike. By tying in TiVo’s “suggestion” feature, your fridge can notice that since you bought a frozen pizza, you might also like other tomato-sauce-based products, and presto, when you come home, you not only can have the pizza, but you can also have a serving of lasagna, or a nice tomato soup. Someday I’ll get around to creating this……

  5. John Gibbs says:

    Scan barcodes?! That would be much too cumbersome. Once RFID chips are on everything the fridge could use them to have an always up-to-date inventory without human intervention.

    I’d do away with the weight sensors as well. The fridge could read the purchase and expiration information from the RFID chips and notify you of two helpful things: 1) something is about to expire, and 2) using historical trends you will need, for example, more peanut butter in about 2 days.

    Your TV could broadcast information that would be helpful to other appliances, such as your refrigerator, using bluetooth. The refrigerator could maybe store the recipe that Emeril has just cooked for your future reference, and even prepare a shopping list.

  6. I just had another thought. What if your fridge went "2001" on you, and when you wanted to get something out of it, it responded:

    I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

  7. MBA says:

    Helpful For MBA Fans.