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Refrigerators

Samsung's Bixby will soon ID the foods in your Family Hub fridge

It's called Bixby Vision, and it's coming to Family Hub fridges this April, complete with improved voice controls.

Samsung's touchscreen-equipped Family Hub smart refrigerator includes built-in cameras that let you check the contents of your fridge from afar on your phone. Now, at CES 2019, the Korean manufacturer tells us that an April software update will enable Bixby to automatically detect, label and list some of the foods you put inside.

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Ry Crist/CNET

Samsung calls the feature Bixby Vision, and it won't be able to ID everything. The company demoed the feature for me on the CES showfloor by putting fruits, veggies and unpackaged meat and fish inside. It was able to ID all of it and add it to the Family Hub's food list -- though it did identify two bell peppers as "paprika" for some reason. Still some kinks to work out before April, it seems.

I wouldn't expect it to be able to ID too much more than that at launch, so for a lot of your groceries, you'll still need to manually tag them on the touchscreen in order to add them to your food list. Samsung does tell me that Bixby Vision will improve as users continue manually tagging their groceries and essentially teach it how to recognize new foods.

Along with Bixby Vision, the April software update will upgrade Family Hub refrigerators from Bixby 1.0 to Bixby 2.0, giving them improved, more natural voice control capabilities. That includes handling food-specific requests like "show me recipes with tuna." Bixby will also auto-tag your groceries with FDA expiration dates (you can also add the actual expiration dates from the packaging yourself). From there, you'll be able to ask "what's expiring soon?"

The improved Bixby features, including Bixby Vision, come as part of what Samsung is calling Family Hub 4.0, the smart fridge's latest software iteration. It'll also include a revamped interface with a new Family Board display that essentially serves as a digital bulletin board for notes, pictures, and doodles. We'll be sure to test all of it out when it arrives in a few months.

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