Turn the Tube Around: Futuristic Fridge Gives Free Previews

Anyone who has kids (or certain types of spouses or roommates) can tell you that opening up the fridge and staring at the contents can be a sport for some people. It’s an expensive sport, though, because of all of the energy lost while the fridge is cooling your kitchen. Designers Yoon Jung Kim and Jong Rok Lee want to help you keep your food fresher while keeping your energy bill low by providing a great idea for the refrigerator of the future. Their design features a material they call “Magic Glass” (but which is more commonly referred to as “smart glass“) which is opaque normally but turns transparent when a current runs through it.

In addition to the Magic Glass doors, the fridge features several separate compartments that rotate, letting you spin open only the drawer you need to snag the snack you’re after. Opening only a small part of the appliance would allow less energy waste to seep out, and maybe even help your fresh foods stay fresh longer.

The design looks futuristic, but smart glass is already in use in several applications. And segmenting a fridge to save energy has been done before, although the tubular shape may be new. Overall, it looks like a great idea, provided that you can find a place for a six-foot-tall tube in your kitchen. It’ll save you money and make the entire room look positively space-age.

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See more in Home & Personal or under Gadgets. February, 2010.