Amazon is reportedly working on a smart refrigerator that can take an inventory of the products inside.
According to a report from Business Insider, Amazon is looking to harness the technology honed in its Amazon Go grocery stores. Those stores feature ‘Just Walk Out’ technology that enables users to simply remove items from the shelves and leave the store without checking out. The same tech could be used to track what enters and leaves the fridge, perhaps.
Sources say the e-commerce giant is looking to team up with an established manufacturer on the refrigerator that could monitor items in the fridge and give users a heads-up when they’re running low on an item regularly occupying shelf space.
Naturally, there’d be notifications encouraging a fresh purchase from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods (which Amazon also owns) when supplies are low. Amazon’s hardware efforts have largely been focused on making it easier for people to buy stuff from Amazon, so this wouldn’t be anything new.
Interestingly, Amazon wants the fridge to recommend recipes to owners based upon the ingredients they have chilling out. We can imagine Alexa being heavily involved with suggesting these recipes and the reordering of products.
According to the sources, Amazon is spending around $50 million a year on the project, which is being handled by both Amazon Fresh and the Lab126 hardware teams. Given the company’s focus on groceries and smart home products, this actually seems like a pretty logical idea for Amazon and we’re intrigued to see how it might pan out.
This wouldn’t be the first smart fridge we’ve seen, though. Cameras have been used to enable shoppers to remotely view the inside of their appliances in order to check what’s in the fridge while they’re out shopping.
Amazon has been rapidly expanding its smart home hardware product lines in recent years, beyond items like the Echo speakers. At an event last month it revealed a personal robot called Astro. It can be used as a household aide to go and check on people or rooms.