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Technology

Samsung's Latest Smart Fridge Has Cameras and a Huge Display (engadget.com) 216

anderzole writes with news about Samsung's latest and greatest refrigerator unveiled at CES. Engadget reports: "One of the highlights of CES is always the wacky new appliance tech (and associated bickering) from Samsung and LG. This year looks to be no exception thanks to a new 'Family Hub' refrigerator from Samsung. The imposing-looking model is equipped with a 21.5-inch, 1080p monitor and cameras inside so that you can watch your mayonnaise go bad in real time. You can even check the contents remotely via a smartphone app to see what's in there while you're shopping, in case you forgot whether you need that jar of sweet pickles or not."
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Samsung's Latest Smart Fridge Has Cameras and a Huge Display

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  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by liqu1d ( 4349325 )
    To think I've been opening my fridge all these years :(.
    • Oh, what could POSSIBLY go wrong with this from a hacking perspective? You thought Ashley Madison was bad, wait until this gets hacked and all that data stolen from the health providers gets merged. So what does an obese person have in their refrigerator after all? And where's the fat shaming website to boot? (Why do companies come up with these ideas?)
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @07:28PM (#51238389)

        So what does an obese person have in their refrigerator after all?

        Oreos, Moon Pies, Twinkies, etc, do not need refridgeration. The fat people I know have nearly empty refridgerators but cabinets stuffed with packaged food.

      • Oh, what could POSSIBLY go wrong with this from a hacking perspective?

        Absolutely nothing, nothing could possibly go wro- ...hey, why the fuck is my fridge on fire? Whaddya mean it called 911 and then hung up? It called 911 two-hundred times?? Hey, how come there's an MRAP on my front lawn and guys with guns and bullhorns out front??

    • Opening the refrigerator to look at the contents is not energy efficient, When you open the door all the cold air falls out.
      • It doesn't fall out that fast. Also, if you don't let fresh air in once in a while, you're going to notice some funky smells accumulating from stuff that the camera can't see.

        It's been tried before, didn't work then either. I would pay $10 more for a fridge that didn't have this.

        • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

          The fridge is one thing... but I think this is a valid concern with the freezer. The most efficient freezers are the deep-freezer tubs that open from the top. Not really sure why more refrigerator units aren't really designed to use this... I've seen some fancy expensive ones where they put the freezer on the bottom, but even when they slide out they let all the cold go wandering.

          But whatever. I'm looking forwards to the days where we all just live in high-rises above the grocery stores, and we just have

          • It's because chest-type freezers are kind of a pain in the butt to actually use.

            They're great for storage long term, or bulk things, but I always wind up transferring things from my deep freeze to my regular freezer to actually use them.

            Roast in the deep freeze? Fine, that's fairly large, easy to find. Individual serving size bowls of potato soup I'm saving to reheat? Wind up scattered all over and hidden.

            I do have a French door fridge (freezer on the bottom) and the main attraction is that the fridge is ea

      • I have SchrÃdinger's fridge.

        I dare not open mine to check, for obvious reasons.

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

        by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @07:33PM (#51238423)

        Re-chilling the air is trivial, it's re-chilling the mass of objects inside the fridge that's energy intensive, or at least that's how it seems to me.

        It'd be interesting to take two identical fridges with identical items inside and keep one completely closed and open the door for 30 seconds on the other once every half hour and see how much extra energy (minus the lightbulb, maybe) is consumed by the fridge with the door opened.

        • Don't have anything to back this off the top of my head, but you must be right - I can't think of anything I put in my fridge with less specific heat capacity than air.
    • To think I've been opening my fridge all these years :(.

      That's so old school. You really need a $4000 fridge, a $500 smartphone, and a network connection to properly see what's in in there.

  • No more going to the kitchen in my skivvies then.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @05:59PM (#51237765)
    who are not consistently appropriate with kitchen duties. a remotely monitored oven/stove would be wonderful.
    • by Duckman5 ( 665208 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:20PM (#51237931)
      I have to ask, though...what are her parents doing hiding in the fridge? That much cold and lack of movement can't possibly be good for their joints.
    • The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
      • by flopsquad ( 3518045 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @10:29PM (#51239325)

        The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

        A common misconception. Turns out the Infernal Municipal Council (Public Works Division) regularly resurfaces the Road to Hell with a mixture of sulfurous pitch, crystallized despair, orphan tears, wallpaper glue, tree pollen, crushed up AOL Free Trial CDs, undying snakes, microbeads, fell runestones graven with the demonic localization of the systemd man page, and the mortal souls of chronic masturbaters and people with window decals of Calvin pissing on things.

        Good intentions are often a large volume fraction of the cement on the Sidewalk to Poor User Interface Design, which is so similar to Hell that people often get them mixed up.

    • Good luck seeing at least one expiration date with a static camera considering the jars, bottles and packages could be in any orientation and there is no standard placement for the expiration date to be printed. It takes me like 20s-1min to find and be able to read an expiration date for an item that I am holding in my hands. Even this super edge case falls apart with minimal scrutiny. This shit is absolute garbage.
      • I'll wait for the RFID enabled food products with pressure sensor shelving so I can cook a meal and have it calculate the precise calories that have left the refrigerator. You'll need to add a similar system to the pantry, and spectral analysis to the garbage disposal, then it should be a done deal.

        Really the camera only has to snap a picture when you close the door. If you care to actually see the current state of items then perhaps have a Time Lapse setting, but there isn't really any need to do this.

    • who are not consistently appropriate with kitchen duties. a remotely monitored oven/stove would be wonderful.

      If it's gotten that bad, maybe it's time to realize that they are a hazard to themselves and others. What other things outside the kitchen aren't happening as they should, like taking meds at the right times, in the right quantities?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This. Westerners don't get Samsung until something like this happens to them and suddenly a lightbulb goes on.

      Japanese companies release lots of experimental stuff to the Japanese market, to test it out on consumers. Samsung is doing the same in the West. A lot of it will fail to catch on, but sometimes there will be unexpected or non-obvious benefits that mean they get to create a new market. Fridges are not very exciting commodity items unless they constantly add new widgets.

  • I think we've reached (or about to reach) a tipping-point when it comes to novelty and CE...

    Okay, say 'duh' all you want, but damn, a camera to watch the contents of your fridge from your smartphone? Really?

    • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:06PM (#51237841)

      As one of the previous commenters mentioned, it is good for keeping tabs on the contents of the elderlies' refrigerators. If you have ever had to care for aged parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents, you quickly realize many can get along just fine as long as the little details of life can be managed for them. You have a choice, you can buy in-home care to do this for you. However, if you don't have that sort of cash to throw around (and it ain't cheap), then little baubles like this are god-send. You won't be there enough time and it would exhaust you to do it.

      And when you reach your dotage, you will want to (1) be independent, (2) thankful for little eyes to watch things for you just as long as they aren't attached to someone strange (or weird, or larcenous) in your house.

      • If you have ever had to care for aged parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents, you quickly realize many can get along just fine as long as the little details of life can be managed for them. You have a choice, you can buy in-home care to do this for you.

        ...or you can, you know, visit them at least once a week and take a peek in the fridge? Of course there are going to be edge cases where said parents/in-laws live out-of-state, but in the vast majority of cases it would be no big deal to stop by and sort the little stuff out, if it's truly the case that it's all they need done.

        • " Of course there are going to be edge cases where said parents/in-laws live out-of-state"

          If your parents are out of state/area, and are in need of care enough for you to have a "smart fridge" to make sure they have food, then you're not doing something right. Move them, or yourself to take care of them. We just did that do my mom. She didn't like it, but we did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Yes, I too demand that other people uproot their lives rather than allow the existence of a product I don't want for myself.

        • by njnnja ( 2833511 )

          GP's point about these "little baubles" is spot on. My weekly visits to my elderly grandmother were spent taking a peek in the fridge, cleaning out some garbage, mowing the lawn, shoveling the sidewalk, etc., etc.. Visiting the elderly so that you can do errands sucks.

          I'd have much rather have had robots to do that while we stayed inside and played Scrabble (and I'm sure she would have too).

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          If you have ever had to care for aged parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents, you quickly realize many can get along just fine as long as the little details of life can be managed for them. You have a choice, you can buy in-home care to do this for you.

          ...or you can, you know, visit them at least once a week and take a peek in the fridge? Of course there are going to be edge cases where said parents/in-laws live out-of-state, but in the vast majority of cases it would be no big deal to stop by and sort

          • And when they call and say they can't find the butter, you open up your app and say, it's on the third shelf behind the large tupperware on the right.

        • ...or you can, you know, visit them at least once a week and take a peek in the fridge?

          I know this sounds cold (and I feel like a jerk saying it), but there are times where it would be nice to be able to check stuff for our parents without the 3 hour visit. .

          You know those 3 hour visits where 10 minutes goes to doing whatever needs doing and the rest is listening to them talk while they refuse to take any subtle clue that you are in a time crunch. Bonus time if they hate your spouse/friend/job/dog/whatever and want to tell you (again) the reason of the hate.

      • As one of the previous commenters mentioned, it is good for keeping tabs on the contents of the elderlies' refrigerators. If you have ever had to care for aged parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents, you quickly realize many can get along just fine as long as the little details of life can be managed for them. You have a choice, you can buy in-home care to do this for you. However, if you don't have that sort of cash to throw around (and it ain't cheap), then little baubles like this are god-send. You won't be there enough time and it would exhaust you to do it.

        And when you reach your dotage, you will want to (1) be independent, (2) thankful for little eyes to watch things for you just as long as they aren't attached to someone strange (or weird, or larcenous) in your house.

        The devil is in the details. And as people get older, they generally turn paranoid. And that's the time you want to stick in a fridge with cameras? They won't understand that, unlike the camera on the tv, the fridge cam can't see them.

        And if they're not in the area, what good is it for you to know that the green stuff has turned brown, the red and brown stuff has turned white, and the white stuff has turned sour? It's not like the fridge can throw the bad stuff in the garbage at the press of a button.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      They're not value added enhancements, they're vertical integrations to check off a marketing checklist. They don't actually improve the product's core presentation, they're gimmicks.

      Unfortunately, like the integrated clock on the oven - it's there to stay, whether it was ever useful to begin with or not.

      • The funny thing is, I rely on my oven clock more than any other clock, even my smart phone.

        The oven clock is the one that gets me to work on time and tells me when to go to bed.

        It's a small apartment...

      • I use it often when baking, cooking, or doing something that needs a timer. It's much easier than pulling out the smart phone and finding a timer app, I don't have the mistake of accidentally having it set to silent and ruining anything I'm doing, and it is distinct that it is the oven timer going off. It is also the only clock, other than the one on the microwave right above it, in my entire house. I use my cell for everything else.

      • If your oven doesn't have a clock on it, how do you program 'cook food for 28 minutes at 400 degrees to be done at 3:30 PM'?

        I've been able to do that since the '80s. Do most stoves not have this function? It's great when you don't have a lot of time for lunch and want to come home for a hot meal already done.

        I couldn't do that in my last apartment, but that stove didn't have a clock on it. The current electric does, and the gas oven I had earlier did it.

    • I think we've reached (or about to reach) a tipping-point when it comes to novelty and CE...

      It's not done until it can play mp3's.
  • Even if for some reason you went to the insane lengths to put a camera looking at every side of every shelf in a fridge (unlikely), it's still not going to be very useful, because often things are packed on a shelf to hide other things - plus a lot of what you care about might also be in the pantry, out of sight of the cameras.

    Far more useful would be some kind of robot that would simply be able to open doors (refrigerator or pantry) and look in things like shelves or drawers for you. You could have the sa

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Nah, that's over-complicating it to lesser effect.

      Everything's got a UPC code on it. Just scan that with the cameras as you put the items into (or out of) the fridge. Then you can have a type-separated list of what's in the fridge with pictures... or hell, even a McDonalds style menu of what's in the fridge, turned into recipes. Tuperware could be identified as 'leftovers' and image recognition is good enough to be able to tell a tomato from an onion... use it.

      • Except when you use the last of the Mayo, but didn't scan it "out" so your smart fridge thinks you have Mayo, when you don't. OR worse, the mayo is almost gone and the camera can't figure that out. And you still have to open the fridge to check the mayo (or lack thereof) anyway.

        IMHO this is technology asking for a solution where one isn't needed.

      • Everything's got a UPC code on it. Just scan that with the cameras as you put the items into (or out of) the fridge

        Except that doesn't work late at night, and while you would know you used the mayo 20 times what does that mean?

        And then of course there's produce, remember how the checkout person (or use) has to key in a produce code? You going to memorize that table yourself for typing into the fridge every time you want a salad? Well that's only got about seven things to scan and key in... how convenient.

      • Well, pre-processed stuff might have UPC codes...

        I kind of think that you are on the right track though.

        Once a refrigerator is able to accurately identify all of the contents (through a combination of UPC scanning, weight, smell and size/shape), you would gain some real value:

        - No opening the door to waste energy
        - Textual or visual representations of what is inside
        - Recipe suggestions based on contents
        - Caloric and other stats of the contents
        - Shopping list suggestions based on eating habits
        - Identification

        • Fresh veggies don't come with UPC codes. And fridges already have special drawers to store butter, veggies, etc. at a higher temperature. This is just a few more circuit boards that can fail when there's a power surge/failure. Like dishwashers and stoves and washers and dryers, when the circuit board fails, it's almost cheaper to just buy a new appliance.
  • Yay! (Score:3, Funny)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:02PM (#51237791) Homepage
    Nobody reads the articles so this story doesn't even provide a link.
  • We will finally get an answer to the age old question: "Does the fridge light go out when you close the door?"
  • Software updates? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilRhino ( 638506 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:04PM (#51237819)
    I don't trust Samsung to support the smartphone app for too much longer. They don't have a good track record.
  • Is anyone else tired of increasingly 'advanced' fridges and appliances which have ever-decreasing ability to be maintained or upgraded, and aren't nearly as fundamentally reliable as older fridges?

    Replace that 20 year old fridge and before you know it the replacement's on the fritz...

    • by IMightB ( 533307 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:12PM (#51237875) Journal

      Completely fed up with this BS. I don't need a fridge that can slice dice and wash my laundry. I want it to keep my food cold and ice frozen and be dependable doing so.

      • I also want a phone that makes phone calls with a battery life longer than a day. But now we had to sacrifice that in order to sell apps to kids.

      • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

        Completely fed up with this BS. I don't need a fridge that can slice dice and wash my laundry. I want it to keep my food cold and ice frozen and be dependable doing so.

        If only there were downmarket models, and downmarket manufacturers, that would let you purchase such a device. Oh wait, Samsung still sells many such refrigerators as well, and lest we forget, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Amana...

        Repeat after me, "my preferences are not everyone's preferences; my wants do not define the universe of possible wants.

      • " I don't need a fridge that can slice dice and wash my laundry."

        Clearly you do, since nothing else feeds your outrage any more.

      • by chihowa ( 366380 )

        I want it to keep my food cold and ice frozen and be dependable doing so.

        In which case, you may want to reconsider a Samsung anyway.

        Mine turns off the compressor and throws an error code that needs to be acknowledged when it restarts after a power failure. That's always a treat to come home to.

        Also, there are two buttons, right next to each other and easily bumped into, that turn off the fridge when touched. Of course they aren't labeled as such, so it's back to the manual when you hear the cheerful tone and see 'OFF' on the display (why would anyone ever want to turn off the co

    • People want cheap fridges, so the market sells them cheap, shitty fridges. If you spend a couple hundred more dollars, you can get a very reliable fridge that uses less energy than the old ones.

      • There may be a ton of brands out there, but they're all made by the same handful of manufacturers. So good luck with that - anything that they can cut corners on the low end will also have those same corners cut on the high end.
      • by serbanp ( 139486 )

        Sorry, but that's not true anymore. Even the very high end fridges (SZ comes to mind) are no longer built with durability in mind.

        Would you care to list one current fridge model that you think is "a couple hundred more dollars" than a plain one and very reliable? I bet you can't.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      Is anyone else tired of increasingly 'advanced' fridges and appliances which have ever-decreasing ability to be maintained or upgraded, and aren't nearly as fundamentally reliable as older fridges?

      Replace that 20 year old fridge and before you know it the replacement's on the fritz...

      When my grandma passed, we hauled her old fridge to the dump, where the guy commented, 'hey, this thing's still cold!' And we all saw the manufacturing date was stenciled across the back: "1941". That little fridge had been running constantly for over 50 years. There's definitely something to be said for reliability.

      But that tiny little fridge drew more current than a large modern fridge, and ran longer and louder. It was horribly inefficient by the standards of the 1990s. She could have bought a new

    • I own a relatively newer model Samsung fridge. I bought it as a floor model, and because of that, they gave me a free three year warranty. After I had the fridge for about 18 months problems showed up.

      It took five or six visits from three different onsite techs to finally fix it. They replaced almost the whole fridge. They definitely replaced all the computer boards(there are three or four) at least once and some twice. Each time when I would sign the paperwork, acknowledging what they had done, I l
      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        I own a relatively newer model Samsung fridge. I bought it as a floor model, and because of that, they gave me a free three year warranty. After I had the fridge for about 18 months problems showed up.

        It took five or six visits from three different onsite techs to finally fix it. They replaced almost the whole fridge. They definitely replaced all the computer boards(there are three or four) at least once and some twice. Each time when I would sign the paperwork, acknowledging what they had done, I looked at the cost of parts and labor. I was stunned. I realized they could have just replaced the fridge with a new one after the third visit.

        When they called me to see if I wanted to get an extension on the warranty, I said "By all means!"

        Sounds pretty cheap for Samsung to have you as a beta tester... Personally, I'm happier without any non-refrigeration related functionality in my fridge. I'd pay a bit more for, say, a visible exterior light that indicated when the fridge wasn't properly closed (older french-door type models have this issue occasionally).... but then again, that's a refrigeration specific functionality.

  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:18PM (#51237919)

    For years I've been wanting something that would enable me to see inside my refrigerator without opening the door and wasting electricity. I always kinda figured the solution would involve a thick glass door and a light switch though. This is cool and all, I guess, but I'd rather have something simpler, with less things to go wrong and break down, and if my last fridge is any indication, that's kinda an issue.

    Also, here's the link [engadget.com] that was omitted.

    • Yeah, I wonder if all the extra electronics draw more power over time than just opening the door a couple of times a day.

      I am sure that is going to be the case with a big-ass-monitor, especially if it is left on all the time.

    • I'd go for two thin glass doors with a gap between, but I'm a bit strange.

    • but how would you look through the glass door or flip the light switch...over the Internet?

      • Well, my glass door fridge would come with an advanced dual pressed cellulose memory & graphite core marking system which would allow you to check and record items prior to even leaving your home for the grocery store! Poor connectivity and data fees are a thing of the past, there'll be no more frustration as you try to make out the date on the bottom of a jar through a smartphone in the middle of the condiment aisle, and thanks to it's advanced solid state data storage system you don't even have to wo

  • Has engadget taken to serving all site picture from an ad server? 'cause I expected to see a picture of the Ludicrous Fridge and I didn't get it. Nor does the linked Samsung site (in Korean language) have a picture.

  • Energy usage (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @06:22PM (#51237945)

    So, when does adding all these camera features cost more electricity than simply holding the door open while you look for what you want?

    • by frnic ( 98517 )

      I expect that the cameras and display use less energy in a year than a 40w incandescent bulb does in a few minutes (that might be a slight exaggeration - but not much) and then there is the cost of re-cooling the interior after you let all that hot air rush in.

      I am certain this is more energy efficient by a LONG shot, that does not make it more reliable or cost effective.

      • I am certain this is more energy efficient by a LONG shot, that does not make it more reliable or cost effective.

        Remember to factor in any energy required for manufacturing the camera and screen too, if you're actually interested in energy conservation and not just lowering your power bill by a few dollars per year (since that's what you'll save on average). Air is not dense at all and doesn't require a lot of energy to cool -- chances are you spend $5-10 per year or so for refrigerator openings if you're average... the rest of fridge costs are for cooling down actual food (usually requires thousands of times as much

  • Ice Bear [wikipedia.org] wants privacy when he sleeps [imgur.com].

  • "A Samsung representative is quoted as saying 'You idiot; that's not a fridge! That's a cell phone! We figured we leapfrog Apple a couple of generations on screen size, now that we've sucked them into the won't -fit-in-your-pocket screen size war!'; Apple was unavailable for comment."

  • Wow... and the display isn't waist-high anymore.

  • Back in the olden days, when the web was geeks only, you'd see websites of a coffee pot (useful for the developers on that floor, but exported to the world) for a sandwich slowly going bad, and for the pop inventory in the breakroom. Now 20 years later, anyone can do it. In fact, probably, most people will forget to check the opt out and all of our fridge contents will be available on the internet.

  • Wake me when the fridge's drone can deliver a beer to the couch with voice command from the living room.

  • Presumably this things has loads of cameras, otherwise how can it see everything inside the fridge. I can't see everything in our fridge even with door wide open and neither can my wife. She is forever moving a pickle jar and going "Oh, I've just found some leftovers from three weeks ago that I was going to feed you".

    My point being that if I wanted to be able to see everything in our fridge using internal cameras I estimate that I would need at least a dozen and as many as twenty if I wanted to include
  • Wait a second, isn't Samsung the company that thought it would be a good idea to stick a camera on television sets and record people as they watch TV? So they plan to collect and mine data gathered from fridges now too? Is there another camera pointed at the kitchen?
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @09:12PM (#51239043)

    And guess who won't be buying Samsung's latest refrigerator?

    If other people want this, great, have at it. But it's just not something I want.

    • Thanks. But can you please come up with a definitive list so we all know about all the other things you don't want?

  • I need a digital pantry that can tell me the contents. I get sick of my wife coming home telling me there was a sale where she got 2 containers of mustard for the price of 1, because I inevitably go into our pantry and find 5 containers of mustard already there, buried way in the back.

  • Great so now my fridge will display ads

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