Siemens got the ball rolling at the 2013 IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin today, using the first press conference of the event to unveil a new model that features “vacuumTechnology.” There are no prizes for guessing that this involves using a vacuum to keep food fresher, longer.
Measuring 1.9 m (6.2 ft) tall, Siemens' KG38QAL30 Freshness Center sports a "stainless steel look" exterior and three different storage zones. The topmost door opens up on the conventional cooling area, while the freezer and ice-maker are at the bottom. In between, there’s the vitaFresh section, which is itself broken into two sections: the crisper drawer at the top and the vacuum drawer underneath.
Both drawers in the vitaFresh section cool food to close to 0° C, with the crisper drawer featuring automatic humidity control and intended for fresh fruit and vegetables. The vacuum drawer is intended for food that spoils easily, such as raw meat and fish and is hermetically sealed with a special handle.
After closing, a pump can be activated with the press of a button to remove air from the sealed drawer and reduce the air pressure by 300 millibars. Siemens' claims that the system can keep food fresh up to five times longer than non-vacuum cooled food. It also eliminates the need for defrosting.
Siemens also had a number of appliances adorned with QR codes at the show. These work with the company’s app to provide augmented reality (AR) help for various tasks, such as refilling the salt in the dishwasher or replacing the filter on a range hood. QR codes aren’t likely to match most people’s décor, so the company plans to integrate a design element into its appliances that would work in their place.
There’s no date on when such AR appliances might be released, but the KG38QAL30 Freshness Center with vacuumTechnology will be available shortly in Germany and the Netherlands for the recommended retail price of €1,499 (US$1,975). Siemens is waiting to see how it is received before deciding on a wider release.