Grocery store checkout lanes are completely automated now. So automated in fact, that many of them no longer require a cashier. You just scan your own items and handle the payment yourself.

So why is it that when we create our grocery lists at home, we still do it with pen and paper?

The technology I would like to see is a refrigerator with a built-in scanner. As soon as you run out of something, say milk for example, you slide the UPC label under the scanner and just like that, milk is added to your grocery list.

Internet enabled?

Better yet, if my refrigerator was Internet enabled (yes, I just mentioned an Internet enabled refrigerator) my scanned grocery items could be cross-referenced against all of the grocery stores in my area to let me know if any of the items I need are on sale or can be purchased at a discount with a coupon.

Of course, I’m not going to hook a printer up to my refrigerator so I anticipate that my smart refrigerator could email or text my grocery list to my computer or mobile phone with the touch of a button.

What other features did I miss? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Disclaimer: Technologies presented in the Technology I’d Like To See (TILTS) series are based on my original (and sometimes delirious) thoughts. I present them here to the public only because I can not afford to implement any of them myself. If you steal borrow one of my ideas and end up filthy rich because of it, please remember where you got the idea and throw a little love my way. Something like a BMW or a big fat check would do just fine.

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7 thoughts on “TILTS: Smart refrigerator keeps track of your grocery list

  1. Yes, I’m with you! I’ve also had this idea. I also wonder if this smart refrigerator could be programmed to monitor usage of groceries to help auto generate a grocery list. And what about telling you when things have expired or leftovers have been around for too long?


  2. Oh, and what if somehow the grocery list created could be organized according to shelf location at your local grocery store?

  3. @Jon OK, now I’m picturing a refrigerator that prints out mini bar code stickers that you stick on the leftovers you put in it. Then anytime you want you can scan your item to see how old it is. Or you can assign a name to the code and your refrigerator will tell you, “Better eat the broccoli casserole today.”

    Great ideas Jon!

  4. asudduth

    I thought there was a fridge already out that was internet-enabled, however my searches aren’t coming up extremely fruitful, but it does appear LG has designed a fridge that has internet access, allows for recipes, and a food list w/ “storage time alarm” – I really know nothing about this refrigerator, but it might actually exist.  I THINK the model is GR-D267DTU – and as a note, I found this Flash ( highlighting some of its features.

    I don’t think its everything we’d want it to be, but it is a start… so to prepare for the future, make sure to drop an Ethernet jack right next to the ice maker’s water supply :)

  5. @asudduth Nice find! All that was missing was the bar code scanner. Dang, so close!

  6. For some reason, this post showed up in my feed reader again. But I’m glad it did because minutes before coming across it again, I had another idea along these lines.

    What if grocery stores or carts had built in scanners? As you put items in your cart, you could scan them to get a running total and bill. I know this idea needs some refining. Seems like a way to improve efficiency while shopping.


  7. @Jon The Noobie web site was moved to a new server which is probably why the RSS settings were reset. Your idea reminds me of that commercial several years ago (I don’t remember for who) that showed a woman that appeared to be shoplifting by walking out of a grocery store with a cart full of unbagged groceries. But really she was walking through a scanner on the way out that used RF readers to scan the entire cart of groceries and bill her credit card automatically.

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