Your beer is coming!
“Ku” was a cooler combined with both voice recognition and a LIDAR system, so it could not only heed your call, but navigate around the house without running over your pets or bumping into the furniture. It was unveiled at IFA, the largest European consumer electronic trade show, and it made headlines all over the tech press.
And yet, some years later, the smart appliance is not commercially available.
The original reasoning behind it was to serve consumers with mobility issues – however during the conference it promised to deliver cold sake, an alcoholic beverage, which seems like an ideal use case for more conventional, lazy customers. During the scorching heat of the summer, when we are melting in our couches, who hasn’t thought about how great it would be if your fridge would serve you?
While that might seem like something out of a science fiction cartoon from the seventies, apparently the engineers at Panasonic unveiled a proof of concept of the product back in 2017.
We are left to wonder what happened to it. The smart fridge that serves you in your seat seems nonetheless emblematic of the 2010s, where as the saying goes most of innovation was focused on automating stuff that men’s mothers or wifes would do for them.
Something must have happened during testing – maybe having the fridge scoot up to you was just a too immediate reminder of the human loss of purpose in the face of unstoppable automation? Maybe it was just too creepy to have a cooler chase you around the house? Maybe talking to your fridge is just a step too far towards a Fifth Element style dystopia in terms of human and machine interaction?
Check the original spot, shot at the location:
Or maybe we just weren’t ready yet, and the perfect, frictionless solution to an arguably marginal summer problem is still to come, not in our living rooms but somewhere in the service industry?
What do you think? Why was the smart fridge stopped in its tracks? Share your thoughts!