I started this project by selecting a common environment for restricting the "sustainability" theme, and be able to focus the home wasting issue.
So then I've done long research in food over-wasting issue in home, and I analyzed this problem in four categories, which were "sale," "conservation," "preparation," and "consumption."
These four categories were chosen because they represent a part of the food life cycle in which people are closely related to. What this research has pulled out is a key aspect that is common to all four analyzed points:
DO I KNOW WHAT IS IN MY POSSESSION?
Because of this question, I chose the fridge for its status of most used system for food conservation that is electrically powered and I started to analyze it. There is a specific habit, that most people have, that I found very interesting, and it is to open and to stare at the opened fridge. It is a very common and bad habit, that is cause of energy waste and an early wasting of food (because of the heating of the inside of the fridge). That is the problem that I chose to solve with this project.
The simplest way I found to not open the fridge for knowing what there is inside it is to use a glass door, like the exibitors of drinks in cafes. These refrigerators use an insulated glass to keep a cool environment, and it is an already proven technology, used widely even in supermarkets.
So the solution could be this kind of fridges, but there is a problem: these exibitors are used for commercial purposes, so that everyone can see what is in exhibition. This aspect doesn't really work in private houses, because nobody want to show everyone what they have bought. So I needed to introduce privacy in these fridges.
Even now the solution is already achievable, and it's called liquid crystal glass; this kind of glass uses a film as further layer that contains liquid crystals. These crystals change their disposition when they are submitted to an electrical impulse, and that influences the permeability of light through the glass. So we have a glass that can switch very easily from transparent to opaque, and the coolest thing of this technology is that it works even at -10° C and can be applied on insulated glass because it is a simple film.
My project in the end combines this two already existing technologies to create a fridge door with a window from where users can watch through to see the inside of the fridge by switching the glass from opaque to transparent.
In the end I want to say that often to solve an environmental problem such as home wasting, the solution is to suggest to change our bad habits. To underline this aspect of "changing perspective," I decided to give to the door an unusual shape, that wants to suggest the user to change his point of view.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Alex Borzaga
Type of entry: individual
Alex is inspired by:
What inspires me is to try to combine things and technologies that i see around me in a concrete and functional way.
Patent status: none