Internet refrigerator

Mark Kuharich (
Fri, 08 May 1998 18:47:03 -0700

from Dave Farber's IP List
Mark Kuharich

'Internet Refrigerator' Aimed for 1999 Commercial Use

April 30, 1998 (TOKYO) -- V Sync Technology, a venture business, said a
household "Internet refrigerator" will be commercialized by late 1999.
already has completed a prototype, and negotiations are now taking place
with two home electrical products manufacturers to introduce the
refrigerator to the market, said Katsuma Fujii, president of V Sync

The Internet refrigerator has embedded devices such as a computer and a
liquid-crystal display (LCD) to provide Web-based information useful to
daily life.

Refrigerators are always turned on, so Internet capabilities can be
immediately operative without a start-up procedure whenever a user wants
information from the Internet.

The current prototype was developed for the application in the Regional
Intranet Experiment to be started in an Okayama town in October 1998.
development project involved the companies such as Nihon Silicon
Cray KK and Sharp Corp.

The prototype was designed to mount a desktop type PC on the top of a
refrigerator. The PC consists of a 333MHz Pentium II processor, 128MB
memory and a 3.2GB hard disk drive.

An LCD is embedded on the door of the refrigerator, and a touch panel is
provided as a user interface. A user can also use IBM Japan Ltd.'s
voice-recognition software.

Netscape Navigator 4.0 is available as a Web browser, and tuner sections
a radio and TV are also on the prototype.

The outlook of the prototype may not be very sophisticated with a PC
placed on the top of a refrigerator. However, a new experimental model
have a processor board, with control performance at the PC level, built
into the door of the refrigerator. Thus, it can save space and look

The prototype runs Windows 95, but the experimental model is due to
Linux, a UNIX operating system.

The experimental Internet refrigerators will be delivered to about 30
households. The appliances are connected with the Internet through local
cable TV networks, and contents are distributed from an experimental
by technologies such as push technology.

The price of a future product will not exceed the price gap of more than
100,000 yen (US$770) versus conventional refrigerators, Fujii said.

The company plans to develop an Internet terminal that can be installed
an existing, ordinary refrigerator, in parallel with the Internet
refrigerator project.

(Nikkei Multimedia)