Refrigerator handles home inventory control
Hungry for e-mail? Check what's in the fridge
By James Cummings
Cox News Service
DAYTON, Ohio -- In the kitchen of the 20th century: Johnny opens the refrigerator and discovers the milk carton is almost empty. He grabs a scrap of paper and jots down a note reminding the family shopper to add milk to the list. He hangs the note on the door of the refrigerator with a magnet.
In the kitchen of the 21st century: Johnny opens the refrigerator and discovers the milk carton is almost empty. Using the camera and microphone built into the Internet portal in the refrigerator door, he leaves a video message reminding the family shopper to add milk to the list. The family shopper doesn't go to the store, instead using the Internet portal to order the milk and other groceries online.
LG Electronics of Seoul, South Korea, is taking the World Wide Web out of family rooms, home offices or wherever home computers are kept, and bringing it into kitchens with its LG Internet Refrigerator.
The unit is a full-sized, 26-cubic-foot, side-by-side refrigerator with a 15.1-inch thin monitor and high-fidelity speakers built into the refrigerator side door. The monitor has a touch-screen display and is connected to an Internet port.
Users can use touch commands to surf the Web, check e-mail, download music or do other online activities.
The monitor also can be used to view television programs. It comes with a remote that can control both Internet and television functions from across the room.
The Internet system can be used to keep track of important dates and appointments, store nutritional information and monitor grocery inventory. Using the system's camera, family members can stand in front of the refrigerator and send snapshots of themselves by e-mail.
The refrigerator has the popular stainless-steel look, and LG says it comes with a patented finish that resists fingerprints.
LG started selling its Internet Refrigerator in the United States in October, and it has a suggested retail price of $7,999. HH Gregg stores carry LG products locally, but the Internet Refrigerator is a specialty item that is generally not in stock and has to be ordered.
For more information, visit www.lgappliances.com.