Say hello to the very first Ubuntu powered smart fridge.
It’s called ‘ChillHub’ and is connected to the web, has its own smartphone app and can be upgraded with new features and functionality at any time.
Oh, and it’s also a regular ~18ft³ refrigerator with top freezer
and marks the birth of a less scary Skynet, one easily won over by a tub of fro-yo.
ChillHub runs Snappy Ubuntu Core, Canonical’s transactionally-updated minimal Ubuntu spin designed specifically for the Internet of Things.
An open platform with an app store that works across a wide range of devices and use-cases, Snappy Ubuntu Core can run on everything, from a teeny-tiny embedded circuit board in a smartwatch to powering the most ruggedised industrial router imaginable.
ChillHub — The Smart Fridge That Runs Ubuntu
ChillHub has been stocked (ho ho) with two USB ports, comes with built-in Wi-Fi and has an open-source iOS¹ app available to let owners check sensor data (e.g. temperature) relayed by the smart fridge through ‘the internet of things’.
While it doesn’t order milk for you (just yet) it soon might.
The included USB ports will, the makers hope, “enable the development of new hardware products that can operate inside a cooled space.”
Examples of add-on products already created include:
- Milky Weigh milk jug sensor ($49)
- Auto-fill water pitcher ($149)
Other example accessories mooted include a deodorizer, butter softener and food scale.
ChillHub has been developed by FirstBuild, a group formed in partnership between GE Appliances (a branch of General Electric’s Home & Business Solutions) and Local Motors.
FirstBuild claims to bring together “industrial designers, engineers and other innovators” in an open community to work on new product designs.
Chillhub is more than a fridge, too: it’s an “open development platform for makers, hackers, tinkerers and developers“. FirstBuild say their community members will continue to work together on improving ChillHub and creating new products to work with it.
Developers don’t even need the actual fridge to hack on, either.
The open-source Chillhub Firmware can (in theory) be played with by building a Raspberry Pi, a connected Green Bean circuit board (see above) and a USB hub into a fridge door. ChillHub will relay messages from the cloud and the fridge to connected USB devices and from connected USB devices back to the cloud.
Buy Chillhub, The Ubuntu Smart Fridge
The smart refrigerator will retail at $999 through FirstBuild.com, though to kick things off a small number of pre-orders are available for just $799.
If you really want to splash the cash there’s a more expensive stainless-steel model available with ‘french doors’, LED lighting, ice maker and other extras. It has 8 USB ports but no top freezer. It is priced from $2.999.