Ringing in the new year is usually accompanied by more than just a ringing headache. Along with exclamations of "never again" come the requisite resolutions. While some of these will certainly be proclamations of imbibing (at least) one less toast, others will be more pragmatic. Like cleaning out the fridge.
While a self-cleaning fridge is currently as ephemeral and fleeting as most other New Year's resolutions, the possibility is on the horizon. In the United Kingdom, the University of Central Lancashire and online supermarket Ocado are collaborating on a fridge that does just that.
Featuring shelf surfaces that will use "nano-articulated technology," the refrigerator will have the capability to move food products around the interior via an array of micro-tiles.
Designed to be more than just a method for moving soon-to-be-spoiled food up to the front of the fridge, the entire shopping and storage experience is set for an upgrade. The smart fridge is designed to monitor gases from decaying foods, scan contents, and then create shopping lists (or just order) based on these factors. There is even talk of a smart trash can to go along with the smart fridge, so the two appliances can communicate and coordinate, basing meal planning around what type of food has a tendency to be consumed (and what ends up in the trash).
Considering the ambitiousness of the project, don't be surprised if it doesn't appear stateside anytime soon--meaning the yearly resolution of cleaning out the fridge is safe for at least another year.