Research, Industrial Design, Sustainability.

CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMART FRIDGES

Background

As part of my summer internship at PA Consulting, I worked alongside a chemical and mechanical engineer to prototype and test a concept for a fridge that uses a modified atmosphere generated by membrane filtration for the ripening and preservation of food.

The Problem

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Research & Insights

My role in this project was to focus on packaging the technology developed by the engineers to make it desirable for consumers and offer input to improve the user experience. The whole project was heavily focused on sustainability; tackling food waste, reducing consumption of plastic packaging and trying to reduce energy inefficiencies inadvertently caused by users.

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Design and Technology Development

Brainstorming Ideas
Brainstorming Ideas

Selecting concepts for testing and further investigation.

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Block Diagram
Block Diagram

An air compressor passes air, taken from the kitchen, through the membrane filter, which splits the air into a nitrogen and oxygen stream, as shown. The excess air in the compartments is vented back out and recombines to form the same composition as regular air, this means the atmosphere is only modified within the compartments.

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Form Board
Form Board

The form of the fridge was inspired by furniture to integrate it better into open plan living spaces.

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Concept Development
Concept Development

Exploration of ways to reduce energy inefficiencies through door openings.

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Concept Refinement
Concept Refinement

Sketchwork exploring ways to integrate the preservation and ripening compartments.

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Digital Sketches
Digital Sketches

Considering the layout and internal arrangement of the fridge.

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Digital Sketches
Digital Sketches

Digital sketching to explore colour, material and finish options.

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Prototyping
Prototyping

Prototype set up with non-return valves on the compartments and oxygen sensor in the preservation compartment.

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Membrane Filtration
Membrane Filtration

Membrane filtration provides a constant supply of high purity nitrogen and enriched oxygen air. The process is also very energy efficient therefore the best available technology for this application.

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The Solution

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Nitrogen

Control Beetroot

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Enriched Oxygen

Control Banana

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