Tech giant Microsoft and large equipment manufacturer Liebherr are collaborating on a new generation of smart refrigerators that would help in shopping and planning meals with intelligent food management.

"As part of the Liebherr household appliances division’s digital initiative, the duo would develop ‘SmartDeviceBox’ — a communication module which fits into refrigerators and freezers — connecting them to the internet," TJ Hazen, Principal Data Scientist Manager at Microsoft, wrote.

The system, which would utilise the same machine learning technology used in Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Cortana, is designed to have a long lifecycle.

With this technology, modular units can be integrated and upgraded at any time in existing SmartDevice-ready appliances to create value and comfort for customers through new digital features and solutions, the post on Microsoft blog said.

With the refrigerators, stored groceries can be monitored using internal cameras and object recognition technology. It can capture images for viewing and also recognise individual food items inside the refrigerator.

"This information flows automatically into an inventory list, which lets the customer see quickly and clearly what is in the refrigerator from anywhere. Using the ‘SmartDeviceBox’ voice module, additional groceries can be added to a shopping list that customers can access when on the move using an app for iOS, Android or Windows devices," the post noted.

The current system is a prototype and the deep learning technology it uses is rapidly maturing.