The Future of Food

How We Got To: The Smart Fridge

From Francis Bacon to the Large Hadron Collider

43 sec read

An illustration of refrigerators through the ages, from a basic ice box, to a 1950s chunky unit, to Walt Disney's head in a jar, through to the Large Hadron Collider.
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From Francis Bacon’s chicken, to the Large Hadron Collider, to the internet fridge–here’s how we’ve used cold technologies to keep our food fresh, preserve life after death (allegedly, at least), discover the secrets of dark matter and get our domestic appliances to talk to us.

A six panel comic.
Panel 1 (Francis Bacon holding a chicken in the snow): "In 1626 Sir Francis Bacon experimented with cooling a chicken in the snow to keep it fresh."
Panel 2 (a cabinet with a skull and crossbones symbol on it): "Early domestic fridges contained hazardous sulfur dioxide, and leaks caused occasional deaths."
Panel 3: (A woman in 1950s clothing holds open a large fridge) "By 1959 fridges had become a desirable domestic object with 96% of Americans owning one."
Panel 4 (Walt Disney's head in cryogenic storage): "Refrigeration soon had scientific applications that could both save and extend lives."
Panel 5 (A cross-section of the Large Hadron Collider): "The world's largest 'fridge'–the Large Hadron Collider–has 27km of cryogenic distribution line."
Panel 6 (A modern smart fridge): "The fridge of the future will be connected to the internet and use articial intelligence." The fridge speaks in speech bubbles: "Something smells funny. I think the milk's on the turn. You're not eating enough veg so I've ordered carrots. You're five pounds overweight, so I've thrown out the ice cream."


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How We Get To Next was a magazine that explored the future of science, technology, and culture from 2014 to 2019. This article is part of our The Future of Food section, which covers new innovations changing everything from farming to cooking. Click the logo to read more.