Fridge of the Future

Product design experts from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have teamed up with online supermarket Ocado to predict the evolution of the domestic fridge.

The team forecasted that fridges could evolve into something truly cerebral, offering predictive, fully automated shopping, robotic "stock" rotation, self-cleaning routines and waste food management - all of which could change the way we eat forever.

UCLan's product design courses have partnered with Ocado mindful of the changing lifestyles of supermarket shoppers. With Brits putting in an additional 36 million hours of free overtime a year, it leaves very little time to complete mandatory chores such as the weekly food shop or fridge clean-out.

Simon Sommerville, Course Leader for Product Design in UCLan's School of Art, Design and Performance, suggested that future fridges will be able to scan their multi-shelf contents and then calculate a meal appropriate to those items found. Recipes, organised via categories, will allow for choice between country, cuisine and season.

The future fridge will be "plumbed in" to a supermarket's website and its smartphone apps, allowing it to automatically order food based on contents already used.

Source: 20 June 2011