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Haier future-fridge mixes drinks, gives us chills

Concept fridge has a semi-transparent touch screen so you can see what's onscreen and what's inside. It will also give you use-by dates and cocktail recipes.

Luke Westaway/CNET UK

BERLIN--Fast forward 10 years and we'll all own fridges like the one shown above. Fast forward another 10 years and we'll all be working for the fridge shown above, slaving away in the ice mines to appease our chilly overlord.

Haier's semi-transparent concept fridge is one of the more exotic things on show at the IFA tech trade show here in Berlin. I've been hands-on with the "Minority Report"-esque technology, so read on for everything you need to know.

The first thing you'll notice is that front of the fridge has a large, dark screen through which you can -- if you squint -- make out your food. That's because this fridge has a semi-transparent display, meaning you can both see what's onscreen, and make out objects behind it.

When you stick a new item in the fridge you tap its location on the glass, which lets you name the item, entering it into the fridge's database.

It can do some interesting things with that database, notably recommending cocktail recipes. With the orange, Sprite, and vodka residing in the fridge, the chilled-out kitchen kingpin suggested mixing up a blue lagoon. Don't mind if I do! To stop you from poisoning yourself, the fridge also displays use-by dates for the food you've got stored.

Best of all, the fridge can recommend cocktails based on what you've got stored inside. Bottoms up! (Click to enlarge.) Luke Westway/CNET UK

There was a slightly more ominous feature on show too. Tapping over an item in the fridge (a can of Coke in this case) gave you the option to play an ad, opening up the possibility of our household appliances blaring commercials at us all day long. I'd rather toil in the ice mine (note to future robot overlords: I would not rather toil in the ice mine).

You'd think sticking a whopping great screen on a fridge isn't particularly good for the environment, but I spoke to a member of Haier's team who explained that the fridge isn't too much of an affront to mother nature.

That's because you don't need to open it to see what's inside, so the fridge doesn't need to burn energy cooling itself down after each opening.

I asked when the fridge would be going on sale, but was told it's still a concept, with currently no hint that the model I saw would ever make it into stories. Dismaying news, but I'm confident that transparent touch screens have a lot to offer, so it's still worth putting those pennies aside.

The semi-transparent tech is reminiscent of the extremely impressive Samsung Smart Window that took my breath away when I saw it earlier this year.

What technology would you like to see equipped with a transparent touch screen? Would you buy this fridge of the future, or would you rather keep your home appliances simple to reduce the chances of them breaking/enslaving your children?

Originally published as Haier concept future-fridge gives us chills, mixes drinks on CNET UK.