Microsoft and Liebherr are collaborating on an upcoming line of smart fridges

microsoft shutting down docs com document sharing service ifa 2015
To help refrigerator manufacturer Liebherr improve upon its SmartDeviceBox, tech giant Microsoft has announced plans to partner with the appliance company on upcoming releases. A communication module that connects Liebherr’s fridges to the internet, the SmartDeviceBox essentially turns any of its lineup of refrigerators into a connected appliance. Like Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator — sans the giant touchscreen — these fridges grant owners a wide range of capabilities including knowing what’s inside and when it spoils, shopping list integration, and innovative meal planning.

According to a blog post on Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft’s website, its role in the Liebherr partnership is to provide the appliance purveyor with computer vision capability. Liebherr turned to Microsoft due in part to its successful history of developing deep learning algorithms for image processing, Scientists at Microsoft have teamed with the folks at Liebherr to develop a system capable of recognizing specific kinds of food products inside the fridge. After recognizing these items — ketchup, milk, etc. — it then allows owners to see how soon they need to replenish the goods.

A test shot of Microsoft's imaging tech
A test shot of Microsoft’s imaging tech Microsoft

“Although the current system is a prototype, the deep learning technology it uses is already very powerful and rapidly maturing,” read the blog post. “Liebherr and Microsoft are actively improving these technologies to turn the newest generation of refrigerators into smart appliances that don’t just cool your food but interactively help you with your food management.”

The idea is that as the tech advances, it will help families shop smarter and know exactly what’s needed on a trip to the store. To access the information, owners would simply load up a companion smartphone application on either an iOS-enabled or Android-enabled smartphone. As of now, the updated SmartDeviceBox with Microsoft’s imaging capability is merely in a testing phase, so it’s unknown when exactly the companies intend to make it available to the public.

Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Mobile

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Business

Google to expand New York City presence with $1 billion campus

Google is following in Amazon's footsteps with plans to expand its presence in New York City. The company announced on Monday, December 17 that it's investing $1 billion on three sites in Lower Manhattan for more than 7,000 workers.
Mobile

Report: Samsung's upcoming foldable phone will cost a hefty $1,800

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Deals

Amazon Fire Deals: Tablets, TVs, and TV controllers in stock and ready to ship

Last-minute shoppers, and anyone seeking good deals on Amazon Fire products, are in luck. There's still time to order Fire Tablets, Fire TVs, and Fire media players, Fire CVRs, and Alexa-voice-compatible Fire remotes for Christmas delivery.
Smart Home

Best Walmart deals on Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers, espresso machines

The days till Christmas are slipping by, but these Walmart deals on Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers are prime candidates for last-minute gift selections. All four coffee makers ship for free in time to arrive before Christmas.
Smart Home

Ring, Amazon’s smart doorbell maker, explores technology that alerts police

Smart doorbells have been using facial-recognition technology to mark friends and family but a pair of patents filed by Ring could lead to doorbells that automatically identify suspicious persons and notify police.
Smart Home

These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data

There are 1.2 million people living in "deficient" housing in New York City and now these coders are making easy-to-use, intuitive apps designed to give tenants a fighting chance against unscrupulous landlords.
Smart Home

Holiday shopping: Here are the final dates for Amazon’s free shipping promotion

If you're shopping with Amazon this holiday season, then time is fast running out if you want all of your gifts delivered before December 25. Here are the dates you need to know ...
Smart Home

Ward off porch pirates with the best outdoor security cameras

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Deals

Save up to $200 on Roomba and other robot vacuums before Christmas

We've found the best discounts on robot vacuum cleaners on brands such as Roomba, Shark, Eufy, and Ecovacs Deebot. Whether you're buying Christmas gifts or just need a little help around the house, these fourteen deals can help you save.
Smart Home

Here are the smart home gifts peple actually want this year

Looking for a smart home gift to buy for someone on your list? It's not too late! Of all the gadgets we research and test, these are our picks for the best last-minute smart home gifts for 2018.
Smart Home

Alexa’s top skills of 2018 are here to assist you in any way you can imagine

Amazon announced the Alexa Skills of the Year 2018, a collection of 24 skills Amazon's Alexa team considers the top skills for games, family fun, wellness, and daily habits. Amazon also encourages everyone to create their own skills.
Smart Home

Watch this NASA engineer own porch pirates with a glitter bomb package

NASA engineer Mark Rober had a package stolen from him and the police wouldn't do anything about it, so he took matters into his own hands and built a glitter bomb package to thwart would-be thieves.