No need for PCs with intelligent fridges
LG Electronics` Internet-enabled refrigerator introduces the convenience of combining an integral household appliance with a Web connection.
Surfing the Internet with a refrigerator might sound outlandish to most people who are accustomed to an analogue life style," says Deon Botha, account manager: IT products at LG Electronics SA. "Not only is it strange, most would think this idea inefficient.
"Yet, the Internet has become an indispensable source of information in our daily life," he continues. "Can you imagine not checking your e-mail for even one day? The Internet is a source of high-quality information for professionals, it is an educational tool, provides entertainment and, in some cases, revenue for the user."
The LG refrigerator provides the same Internet functions as an independent computer. Through the exclusive portal site, www.dreamlg.com, buyers can access a wealth of lifestyle data and enjoy home shopping, as well as watch television and exchange e-mail.
The fridge boasts a TFT-LCD (thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display) screen with TV functionality and Local Area Network (LAN) port. "For users unskilled in Internet use, an exclusive Graphic User Interface (GUI) and touch screen were adopted so that they can easily access information on product prices and stock trades," explains Botha.
In addition, the refrigerator offers an electronic pen, data memo, video messaging and schedule management functions. Through the LCD information window, it provides various kinds of information about the refrigerator, such as inside temperature, the freshness of stored foods, nutrition information and recipes.
The high-tech refrigerator also enables video mail as well as data messaging. It allows the taking of family photos through a fixed camera, storing pictures like an album. The Webcam doubles up as a scanner, to scan food in and out and keep up with exactly what inventory is in the refrigerator and how long it has been in there. The fridge can be programmed to automatically send out orders, provided that the nearby grocery shops are on-line. With an MP3 player, even music can be played and stored.
The `space-age` appliance can sense the condition of its filter and automatically inform users of the time to change it so that it can stay clean and fresh all the time. The filter is located inside the refrigerator, eliminating the previous inconvenience of moving the refrigerator to change the filter.
"With these functions, this refrigerator is no longer a machine simply for refrigerating, but an information appliance bringing the realisation of LG`s Digital World a step closer," comments Botha.
The high-tech refrigerator consumes 53kWh of electricity, half the level of other refrigerators ranging from 100-110kWh, and has noise level of only 23 decibels (dB).
Based on "Internet digital DIOS" technology, the LG appliance is not merely a refrigerator with a built-in notebook, it unites a `white goods` technology with an animated video telecommunications technology usually used for multimedia products, for the first time in the world.
The brushed stainless-steel fridge also comes complete with three-level automatic icemaker for ice cubes, crushed ice or cold water.
LG Electronics injected 15 billion won (U.S.$16.7million) and 55 research personnel into the development of the "Internet digital DIOS" over three years. This enormous investment by the electronics firm is linked with its futuristic vision to be the domestic and global electronics leader.