Smart, Voice-Controlled Refrigerators Debut at CES

Samsung introduced its latest Family Hub fridge with intuitive app integration
January 9, 2017Allison Zisko

LGSmartInstaViewrefrigeratorThe LG Smart InstaView refrigerator
LAS VEGAS—LG Electronics unveiled an Alexa-enabled refrigerator at CES here last week that can place grocery orders, search recipes and control one’s smart home. It also has a door panel that can turn transparent so one can see the contents of the fridge.

The Smart InstaView refrigerator is embedded with an array of features provided by Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service and powered by LG’s own webOS smart platform. The Door-in-Door refrigerator features a 29-inch touch LCD display that instantly turns transparent with just two knocks on the screen and allows users to look inside the refrigerator without opening the door.

Alexa, meanwhile, can search recipes, play music, place Prime-eligible orders from Amazon.com, including groceries, and add items to a shopping list, in addition to the more than 6,000 “skills” that are available through the voice-enabled software.

Other features of the new fridge include a Smart Tag menu that allows users to add stickers and tags on the screen to indicate which foods are stored as well as the ability to input the expiration date of each item, so the refrigerator can issue reminders when foods near expiration. Family members can set up memos for each other and create to-do lists that display on the screen. To check inside the refrigerator remotely, a 2.0 megapixel panoramic super-wide-lens camera captures images of the interior from a variety of different angles which are accessible via smartphone, so that one can see what’s at home while grocery shopping.

“By working with Amazon, we are able to broaden LG’s Smart InstaView refrigerator’s capabilities and provide consumers with a new smart home service that enhances the at home cooking and dining experience,” said Song Dae-Hyun, president of LG’s and Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Our newest innovation will allow users to enjoy their kitchens like never before with new abilities to ‘speak’ to the fridge, control the home’s connected devices and connect with the family in a new way.”

Samsung, meanwhile, introduced the latest edition of its Family Hub refrigerator, which has expanded to 10 of its models and features an expanded and intuitive app integration. Internal View Inside cameras show what items need to be replenished, and can be added to a shopping list feature and ordered through the Groceries by MasterCard app. A recipe app powered by AllRecipes features a recipe readout and enlarged text. And a new interface for the Family Hub enables family members to create their own profiles and serves as an interactive digital bulletin board. Samsung’s voice technology has also been integrated across many of the apps, enabling one to use voice commands to learn the weather and time, order groceries and so forth.

Allison ZiskoAllison Zisko | Managing Editor/Tabletop Editor
azisko@hfnmag.com

After 15 years of covering the tabletop industry, Allison Zisko is still as enthusiastic as ever about the dinnerware, glassware and flatware categories. An in-depth analysis of how the category works intrigues her just as much as the latest fashion trends. As managing editor, Allison oversees the daily e-newsletter and works behind the scenes to help produce the print issue each month. She also directs HFN’s housewares coverage and covers the cutlery category. An avid reader, Allison is eager to talk to anyone and everyone about the latest book they are reading.

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