See You in the Kitchen

See You in the Kitchen

See You in the Kitchen

Every piece of a busy life could be easily managed on a smooth, sleek kitchen surface

The refrigerator has become a super-cool way to stay connected, whether you’re at home or out and about. And other kitchen hotspots – cooktops, counters, and more – are smarter than ever before.

Corning specialty glass and fiber optic technologies could take inert kitchen surfaces and bring them to life with a host of digital applications. Everything we’re accustomed to managing on our smartphones – emails and texts, photos and videos, appointments for every member of the family – could come together seamlessly and beautifully in the heart of the home.

It’s all in response to a surging trend. In 2014, fewer than one million major home appliances included smart technology.  Industry-watchers now believe more than 223 million units will have smart connections by 2020.

Advancements in glass technology could play a big role in the growth.

  •  It’s now practical to have glass-covered surfaces in the busiest room in the house. Chemically strengthened Corning® Gorilla® Glass, featured on more than 4.5 billion mobile devices worldwide, would also form the perfect, ultra-thin cover for the active kitchen surface. It’s optimized to display brilliant images and text while resisting damage from most typical household activity.

  •  In the kitchen, toughness isn’t enough. Surfaces have to be clean. Antimicrobial Gorilla® Glass has a special ionic silver formulation that can reduce 99.9 percent of offensive odor- and stain-causing bacteria.

  • Optical fiber could be critical to the fast performance of Corning's connected Kitchen Hub. Optical Cables by Corning® provide the perfect digital pathway, bringing in massive amounts of data at speeds of up to 20 Gb/s and beyond.

Large electronics-makers are moving quickly to converge their mobile devices with smart appliance product lines. Meanwhile, app and hardware developers are finding all manner of ways to create a connected home, starting in the kitchen.

Using the intelligent fridge as an example, here are a few ways consumers could benefit:

It helps bring order to chaos

When electronic calendars, notes, and emails come together in one place, it’s easier to make sure everyone in the household stays organized. Even hand-written notes could be quickly scanned, posted, and filed. Facial-recognition software could activate images and information for specific household members such as – traffic or weather conditions for a specific morning commute, for example.

Visitors to Corning’s booth at CES 2016 experienced all this smart organization on a concept refrigerator with a 46-inch screen including Corning® Gorilla® Glass. With just a few swipes and taps on the intuitive interface, the picture of an entire complex day came into stunning view.

It's fabulous for food

With a smart refrigerator and RFID tagging system, it’s easy to keep track of what’s inside. A vivid display could give an accurate inventory and – with a simple command – create a grocery list that could be sent to your smartphone or directly to the grocery store.

It would even be possible to embed cameras inside the fridge, letting you quickly check on-hand supplies through your phone when you’re out.

Syncing the fridge with your fitness monitor, menu plans, or other digital health information could be  a convenient way to stay on track with your health goals.

But specialty glass would take smart food management a step further. Can’t decide what to make for dinner? What about letting the fridge search and download recipes, based on food you have on hand? Or streaming a video with precise instructions for roasting that turkey?

High-resolution glass displays with superior optical clarity would make the instructions large, readable, and brilliant that would be easy to call up when you need it, and easy to close out when you don’t. 

It looks fantastic

CES visitors raved about the clean, streamlined, industrial design of Corning’s concept fridge. Rather than having a display imbedded into the refrigerator door – giving the impression of a tablet hanging on the surface – Corning’s concept transformed the entire door into the display. A narrow bezel was all it took to hide the sensors, camera, and other electronic components around the edge.

And for those times you don’t want information on display, the active surface could look more like a traditional refrigerator, too – with any sort of background image or visual texture you like. What other appliance could let you choose between a finish that mimics brushed aluminum or a sassy cheetah print? 

It's fun

Everyone agrees that a smart appliance is cool – but to actually make the conversion, consumers have to have fun using them, too.

Corning’s concept at CES put the fun factor on full display.

Not only did visitors enthusiastically customize the displays and browse through interactive menu options – they also posted handwritten notes and drawings on the refrigerator door, all through the digital markerboard function. (In a home setting, a consumer could also save the masterpiece by sending the image right to a wireless printer.)

With advanced glass continuing to develop and cross-industry collaborations gaining momentum, kitchen surfaces could reshape  themselves to take on extraordinary properties at some point soon. It would be a spectacular way to manage complex information and focus on the people that form the heart of the home.

Corning’s exhibit at 2016 CES showcased Corning’s vision on how glass enables a more connected, collaborative, and interactive world. The company introduced that vision in 2011 with the video series “A Day Made of Glass.” Since then,  many leading brands, designers, educational institutions, and others have been inspired to collaborate with Corning to make this world a reality. Through our CES exhibit and our Glass Age campaign, we aim to continue inspiring innovators in the relevant supply chains to make prototypes like these commercially available.

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