Mention Smart Appliance, and most people think of using a smartphone to turn on house lights as they pull in the driveway, arm security systems, control thermostats, or check if Amazon left a package on the front porch. Initially, that level of functionality was impressive. But so far, the value associated with Smart Appliances has been centered around heightened security and managing your home from a remote location.
It’s time Smart Appliances got an upgrade.
Smart Appliances V1
The first iterations of Smart Appliances were hampered by technical limitations. In some cases, the only smart thing about the earliest versions was touch screen interfaces, Bluetooth connectivity and the option to use a mobile device to control the appliance. Advanced features like food detection, if it was used at all, was constrained by the limitations inherent in AI technology at that time. One of those factors was the processing power needed to run an AI application. AI apps that could recognize and identify specific varieties of food required a robust processor with a neural or GPU accelerator, as well as an ample power source. Incorporating a power-hungry processor into the design of an energy-efficient appliance wasn’t practical. It also required a persistent, high bandwidth connection to the cloud. The resulting latency could delay system response to user input and create a poor customer experience. At any rate, aside from the onerous compute requirement, food detection models were still in their infancy. They were often inconsistent, and it was difficult to train them to identify new items.
The new generation of food identification technology promises to break through those barriers. With highly efficient algorithms, AI apps can be run on a small embedded device inside the appliance, without a persistent, high-bandwidth, internet connection.
Here are a few ways AI on the Edge can make a Smart refrigerator a little smarter:
- Add items to a shopping list when they need to be replenished
- Suggest a recipe based on the items you already have in your refrigerator
- Make grocery shoppers faster and more informed
- Make recommendations for how best to store certain produce
- Provide cooking tips for certain foods
- Detect when there’s a spill inside
With this kind of upgrade, homeowners can use the new generation of Smart Appliances to reduce their monthly grocery bill, reduce waste, and save time at the grocery store.
Compact, efficient algorithms are the brains behind smart appliances
With Xnor’s efficient, on-device computer vision models, smart appliances are now becoming a reality. Xnor’s food identification models offer appliance manufacturers some specific advantages over conventional AI solutions:
The new generation of food identification technology brings AI to edge devices, so there’s no need for internet connectivity. When Smart Appliances aren’t tethered to an internet connection, they are more responsive. Plus, there’s no risk of downtime due to a network or service outage. That translates into a better experience for consumers.
Even an item as ubiquitous as a Granny Smith apple comes in a variety of shades, sizes, and shapes. Our highly efficient training models deliver substantially higher accuracy, making it possible to visually identify food items in less than ideal lighting conditions, even if they are partially obscured.
Reduced energy use
Keeping energy consumption to a minimum is a top priority for appliance manufacturers. Xnor’s food detection models have been shown to be up to 30x more energy efficient than conventional AI technology.
Without the need for fast, power-hungry processors, the cost of introducing these features comes way down. Combined with low energy use and internet-free, on-device computing, its now possible to incorporate advanced food detection capabilities into a range of products at multiple price points.
There’s a multitude of tasks involved in preparing a meal. By going beyond preserving and cooking food, refrigerators will begin to behave less like an appliance, and more like a virtual sous-chef. As a company that’s invested a significant amount of research in this area, we’d like to say, “Bon-Appetit!”
Visit us to learn how the next generation in food detection technology can boost the performance of your Smart Appliance.