The Idea

Existing digital picture frames have always left me disappointed. They try to be a relevant and new way to show off photos, but never gave me the feeling that they went deeper – building on why we want to have and show these photos in the first place. The most important photos are those that connect us to our loved ones, either to shared memories, or as windows into their lives. But how should this look if we use today’s technology to its’ true potential? We can do better than having a screen on our desk or wall, feeding it a few times a year with a USB stick full of photos that are a chore to gather. That whole ritual just rubs our faces in the  plumbing of how technology works, instead of giving us the pleasure and treat of just seeing what we care about as we sit down for breakfast.

Technology Magic And Joy

I got to explore my thoughts on this and the way we could connect people a few years ago through the CreateTomorrow design competition  in the Netherlands. When my father asked me to help him make a fridge that could display digital photos as a capstone project for the new kitchen my mom designed, it gave me a chance to take these insights one step further.

This re-conception of the fridge-door as a family hub takes a central and often cluttered place, and turns it into a window that brings the lives of children, family, and friends into the house. Technology as it should be – magic and heart.

        

The Making Of

This project happened back in 2011, when digital picture frames were almost purely updated via USB stick, and there were only a handful of off the shelf frames that could pull images from an email address which was critical to creating the seamless experience. In essence, I wanted to create a fridge that was beautiful, that had lots of screen real estate for showing off family pictures, an easy way for family members to add pictures (via email), and zero maintenance for mom other than brewing her coffee and enjoying the view. This particular fridge has french doors, so I designed two symmetrical door panels that would slide onto the existing mounts which were intended for custom door panels that are matched to the cabinetry.

Door Panels

  • Laser cut out of 16ga (0.0590”) 304 Stainless Steel.
  • Bent & welded to form door panels

               

Screens

  • 6x Kodak Pulse digital picture frames which grabbed images from a dedicated email address. Sadly these devices did not have a long life, and are in need of replacement.
  • Disassembled to hardwire new switches and longer power cable directly to main board.

                

Door Assembly

  • Sanded frames and inner surfaces of door panels, and epoxied the screens in place.
  • Secured cabling and mounted switches on the outer edges of door panels.

            

Testing & Mounting

  • Made sure everything works end to end.
  • Installed the original door handles to match the freezer drawer.
  • Hung panels on fridge door via existing rivets intended for cosmetic door panel.

               

 

 

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