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Connected refrigerators

Technology advances and innovations of impact are beginning to reach the market

The refrigerator is considered one of the major inventions of the last century (Read more about this on page 4), but there is still plenty of room to innovate. In many aspects there have been significant advances in recent years, such as Embraco Wisemotion technology, compressors which dispense the need of lubricant oil (Read more in the Club’s 117th edition, of March 2014).

Regarding the Internet, studies and tests for its use associated with refrigeration equipment began long ago. Connected refrigerators have been showcased in electronic industry events and some of them have been launched in the market. This evolution took a great leap in the 2016 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – considered the main consumer electronics product event in the world – held in January in Las Vegas, USA.

R2-D2-HaierThere refrigerators with very innovative features were presented, which bring great benefits for their owners in terms of convenience and interactivity. In one of the models launched, by tapping twice on the front window panel, the internal light comes on, allowing you to see inside the cabinet. The same equipment has a sensor in its base to open the door when your hands are busy.

Other refrigerators presented at the event offer the ability to listen to music, watch TV and access recipes while cooking. There are even models that tell you what’s inside the cabinet so that the owner can replace the products that are needed.

An innovation that attracted much attention was the R2-D2 refrigerator, showcased by Haier. It’s a small sized model designed to cool a limited number of beverage cans or bottles. It connects to the internet, but that’s not what sets it apart. One of the reasons for the impact that it caused is linked to how it looks: like a robot from the Star Wars series. Moreover, it also moves, taking, for example, drinks to a person who is sitting on the couch watching TV. The R2-D2 seems to have come straight out of a science fiction movie, but it’s already a reality (for now, only made to order).

With these advances, one of the challenges is the risk that the equipment becomes obsolete in a short time. Since technology in the area of electronics and connectivity evolves very quickly, hardly anyone will want to keep equipment of this new generation with ten years of use, unless there is the possibility to update it. But surely there is already ongoing research to address this issue. After all, refrigeration is an area where innovation never stops.

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