Samsung’s fancy new fridge prototype promises to grow your food for you

It’s full of clever tech (and fresh basil).
Samsung Bespoke Plant fridge.
The pods full of plants could have playful designs in addition to the QR codes that tell the fridge what plants it includes. Stan Horaczek

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From across a room here at the Consumer Electronic Show, Samsung’s Bespoke Plant fridge looks like a typical high-end refrigerator. Walk up to the door, however, and a proximity sensor triggers it to become transparent, revealing a series of plants growing inside where you’d typically expect to find mustard and milk.

The Bespoke Plant fridge is only a prototype for now, but the device is an interesting mishmash of Samsung’s technologies, even some from outside of its appliances division.

The growing chamber inside occupies half of a typical French door-style fridge and can accommodate roughly 45 plants, depending on what you grow (cabbage can be a real space hog, after all). Plants come in self-containing pods full of soil that fit snugly into slots on the shelves. Individual irrigation spouts line the trays and pull water through a filtration system in the bottom of the fridge, which is connected to your plumbing like you’d expect for an ice maker. QR codes on the plant pods tell the fridge what kind of seeds live within so it can dish out the correct amount of water and light. Pods could contain all of the same plant, or a mixture of herbs that go well together.

Bespoke plant fridge water filtration system
The water filtration system lives in the bottom of the fridge and looks a bit like a desktop computer tower. Stan Horaczek

In order to monitor the plants’ progress, Samsung employs optical sensors similar to those in its typical Bespoke fridge. They monitor the contents of your refrigerator so it can help you make a shopping list, or suggest recipes based on what you have on-hand. The Bespoke Plant sensors can track plant growth to send updates to a companion smartphone app, and also automatically adjust the height of the shelves so the greenery doesn’t get crowded and inhibit its expansion.

Samsung Bespoke Fridges
Samsung’s Bespoke line lets users choose from an array of different appliance arrangements that match an interior. Samsung

The lighting system supplies each plant with the required amount of illumination, using LEDs that Samsung pulled from its TV division.

Samsung Bespoke plant fridge.
Water from the filtration system pumps straight up through the bottom of the trays. Stan Horaczek

In practice, it feels like a mix between something you’d find in a laboratory and a high-end kitchen gadget. It’s just a prototype for now, but it’s also surprisingly fleshed out. The app even functions fully, allowing users to order new pods and track their own plant progress as they go. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit the market in some form or another down the road.