Standing on the shoulders of giants

Once in a while, a revolutionary thinker comes along who, simply by examining the weaknesses of an ordinary household appliance, improves upon it and makes a fortune.

Once in a while, a revolutionary thinker comes along who, simply by examining the weaknesses of an ordinary household appliance, completely rethinks the design, improves upon it and builds an entire fortune around his or her ideas.

Standing on the shoulders of other UK giants who have done just that, I myself recently found myself in a local hostelry where, under the influence of several pints of Shandy Beer, developed a concept for a new design of fridge freezer.

The conventional fridge freezer has several problems, you see.

First off, you never know what’s inside the freezer when the door is shut, unless you can see through sheet metal. Hence, the door has to be opened. And this leads to energy loss.

The solution, of course, is to build into the appliance an image recognition system hooked up to a neural network. Once ‘trained’ by the owner, the intelligent freezer will then capture the images of food inside and display the names of the food products on the outside via a rather fancy coloured OLED display.

The second problem is that, one the food has been depleted from the fridge freezer, the user has to go to the store to refill it.

But why should you? A zippy little broadband connection in the back allows my conceptual design to send an order directly to the store each week based on the information stored in a computer database backend that is interfaced to the vision system. The store operatives then deliver the food to your appliance and replenish it for you.

The third failure with current designs is that, with some frozen food products, you need to move food from the freezer compartment to the fridge compartment to thaw it before eating. But no-one can ever remember to do this, resulting in food remaining there until it passes its expiry date.

Not any more. With the Internet and WAP enabled intelligent appliance, consumers will be able to talk directly to their freezer, discover its contents, make their selection, and then instruct the freezer to move a desired frozen dinner into the cooler refrigerator section via a small food elevator.

The last problem with fridge freezers is that they do not interface directly with a cooking appliance. That means that even though your frozen dinner might be at the optimum temperature for cooking, you physically have to move it out of the fridge (another source of energy loss) and into a microwave.

Not with the Wilson design though. Through the use of yet another inexpensive conveyor belt, the food is now moved, first through a shredder that eliminates the packaging, and then into the microwave. Once there, it is heated to its optimum temperature based on the cooking instructions recorded on the side of the pack that were captured by the vision system and fed to the oven.

Once cooked, your microwave dinner is ready to eat. That’s the only problem I haven’t solved yet. How to bring myself to eat the thing once it’s ready.