Ovens with eyes, a chameleon of a fridge, and other electronic eccentricities at IFA

BERLIN—After two years of pandemic-induced isolation, the IFA tech trade show returned here with a lot of beeps, if not an outright bang.

While the 1,100-plus exhibitors announced for the 2022 edition of this event represented a notable drop from the almost 2,000 at 2019’s IFA, the show floors of the Berlin Messe’s hall looked about as packed as ever and remained a challenge to inspect completely.

Especially with so many manufacturers continuing to put a chip and connectivity into every possible household device.

Samsung, for example, announced at its press conference Thursday that 100% of its major appliances would come with WiFi by 2023, while other firms might as well have been competing to see which one could put the least likely gadget part—a touchscreen? a camera?—into a given category of appliance.

The following were among the more memorable results of this engineering equivalent of fusion cuisine.

LG’s color-shifting fridge

LG's MoodUP fridge, as seen on the IFA show floor, looks kind of blue.




You can think of LG’s MoodUP refrigerator as a large Hue light bulb that can also keep beer cold: The LED panels on its doors can display the colors of a user’s choice, either picked off a palette or from themes like “spring,” sunset,” or “Paris” (the last one consisting of a a brownish blue and beige). This colorful convenience, however, will cost a lot more than a set of those connected light bulbs; an LG floor rep said a MoodUP fridge with an InstaView panel to show the inside would run $6,000.





A scale that can say just how fat you are

Withings' Body Comp scale reports a journalist's body fat percentage as 15.7%.



Withings’ new Body Comp scale will not only report your weight but also your body composition, estimating your percentage of muscle mass versus fat mass. It also checks your pulse and measures your “nerve health” from the sweat glands in your feet. There is, of course, a Health+ cloud service to help you make sense of all this data, and the Body Comp’s $209.95 price will include a year of this assistance.



Siemens’ seeing oven

The inside of an oven might seem a particularly inhospitable place to stick a camera, but the iQ700 oven Siemens showed off features just that. As the company’s press release explains, the camera supports the “individual browning” feature that monitors the progress of baking and “ensures exactly the desired degree of browning for pizza, lasagna, croissants etc.” Particularly attentive home chefs can also watch the progress of cooking as seen by the camera in the Home Connect app.

Eyewear, meet software

TCL and Lenovo separately showed off augmented-reality glasses that seemed much more consumer-focused than earlier efforts in this category. Both TCL’s NxtWear S glasses and Lenovo’s Glasses T1 are compact enough to look vaguely like normal sunglasses from a sufficient distance, and both companies suggested these would serve well as an external display for a laptop immune to snooping from passersby. TCL hopes to get its glasses into the market in Q4 but isn’t talking prices yet, while Lenovo aims to sell its glasses for under $500 in early 2023.

Samsung throws 8K viewers a bone—make that, a boat   

movie set of das boot


Just as at CES, TV manufacturers at IFA have a history of showing off giant 8K TVs but then leaving the work of finding something to watch in that 7,680-by-4,320 resolution as an exercise for the buyer.  Samsung, however, broke with that pattern at IFA by quietly touting its offer of an 8K version of season 3 of Sky’s drama Das Boot via its free Samsung TV Plus app. Alas, the sign inviting viewers to enjoy “the first TV series in native 8K” was dwarfed by a wall display hyping a less practical feature of new Samsung TVs: their support for buying, storing and showing off NFTs.



A monitor that knows your eyes are up there

You don’t just look at LG’s Ergo AI monitor—the monitor looks back at you. Its camera tracks your eyes, then raises, lowers or tilts the screen to ensure it’s properly angled towards them. In a test on the show floor, it obligingly adjusted itself as I leaned forward and back in a chair but then stayed put when I stood up. I would have tried turning it off and then back on, but people were lined up to give this vaguely sentient screen their own tests.

(Disclosure: IFA’s organizers are covering most travel costs for an invited group of U.S. journalists and analysts, myself included.)