CES 2015: Peek Inside ChillHub, The First Open-Source Fridge
Open-source, USB-connected refrigerator debuts at CES 2015
Have you ever reached into the fridge, only to your find milk levels dangerously low, produce spoiled, or leftovers half-eaten? Unfortunate refrigeration surprises may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to ChillHub, the open-source smart refrigerator debuting at Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show this week.
What exactly constitutes a smart refrigerator? For starters, ChillHub includes two integrated USB hubs (displaying a total of of 8 USB ports), and has built-in WiFi connectivity, which lets the device talk to control systems such as Nest and onecue. Yet, perhaps what is most interesting about ChillHub is that it’s an open-source appliance. The refrigerator is compatible with various sensors and hardware, and a community of makers has already begun designing different interior components to make the fridge more useful. Standout designs include an LED disinfecting light, butter-softening tray, and egg carton that doubles as an egg cooker.
ChillHub accessory ideas are supported by Firstbuild, a community platform for designing household appliances. ChillHub is their first community-generated product to be released to market. There are currently 55 proposed components for ChillHub hosted on Firstbuild, and several have been prototyped for the refrigerator. Certain components are available for purchase on the ChillHub website, while corresponding 3D printing instructions are available for free download on Thingiverse.
Firstbuild is the result of a collaboration between General Electric and Local Motors, with the intention of harnessing users’ ideas to improve traditional appliances. Firstbuild operates a microfactory in Kentucky, where products such as ChillHub are rapid-prototyped, rather than conventionally manufactured.
ChillHub represents a new iteration of products living in the “connected home”—not only can ChillHub connect to other home electronics, but it can connect isolated ideas for home improvement into a cohesive, truly smart appliance.
ChillHub will retail for $2,999 and can be ordered through FirstBuild.com
Photo: LA Times