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Canonical
on 11 May 2015

IoT: Canonical and GE’s FirstBuild Collaborate on Smart Refrigerator


San Francisco, CA – May 11, 2015 – FirstBuild, GE Appliances’ new global co-creation community is set to showcase ChillHub, its community-generated smart refrigerator in the Ubuntu booth (Stand 545) at the second annual Internet of Things World conference at the Moscone Center on May 12 – 13, 2015.

ChillHub is a refrigerator with two USB ports and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition, ChillHub has an open-source iOS-compatible app that provides seamless integration with the refrigerator by giving a user access to sensor data and control of the refrigerator’s components allowing for new interior accessories to be easily developed. This is a first-of-its-kind platform that enables the development of new hardware products that can operate inside a cooled space.

Ubuntu is the favored platform for developers of all kinds – particularly those innovating around the Internet of Things. Since the launch of ‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core – a transactionally-updated Ubuntu for clouds and devices – a host of manufacturers have begun to develop highly innovative solutions like ChillHub to demonstrate the commercial opportunities surrounding the Internet of Things.

Developed by FirstBuild community members, ChillHub is not only a refrigerator, but an open development platform designed for makers, hackers, tinkerers and developers. FirstBuild community members continue to collaborate on products and features to customize and create new uses for their refrigerators. ChillHub, an 18 cubic foot top freezer refrigerator, will retail for $999 and can be ordered through FirstBuild.com. Limited pre-orders will also be available at an early-bird price of $799. Take a look here.

‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core powers Firstbuild’s ChillHub and is the smallest and most secure edition of Ubuntu, perfect for inventors, technologists and makers. Snappy Ubuntu Core is a combination of an open platform with an app store that works across a range of devices, from tiny embedded boards to high-end switches and routers, sparking a rush of creativity in the maker and entrepreneur communities.

FirstBuild.com is a physical and online community dedicated to designing, engineering and building the next generation of major appliances. It fosters co-creation among engineers, designers, makers and home enthusiasts around the globe, who can participate in the development of appliance breakthroughs to address current challenges, and ensure that it is bringing products to market that people actually want. Community members identify market needs, participate in product development, and watch via social media as ideas speed from mind to market in only a matter of months at the FirstBuild Microfactory in Louisville, Ky.

“ChillHub is the infrastructure to be able to connect devices inside your refrigerator to be visualized on your smartphone and the internet,” said Natarajan Venkatakrishnan, director of GE FirstBuild. “FirstBuild’s approach to open innovation makes it possible for the online community to help us conceive and design products that people want, and speed them to market.”

“As visitors to IoT World will see, Snappy is an amazing platform for the new generation of cloud and device developers,” said Maarten Ectors, VP of IoT, Canonical. “With FirstBuild we’re bringing one of the most innovative IoT projects to market, developed on Snappy Ubuntu Core. We’re excited to see what the response to ChillHub will be and are looking forward to collaborating on future projects.”

ChillHub leverages the power of FirstBuild’s Green Bean (a circuit board bridge that allows software developers direct control of the refrigerator and other appliances through a javascript-based software development kit that uses the Node.js platform) to allow makers to develop products and features they want, and share them with the FirstBuild community.

About FirstBuild

FirstBuild is a new model for designing, building and bringing home appliances to market. A partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors, FirstBuild brings together an open community of industrial designers, engineers and other innovative minds to collaborate on new product designs that are rapidly brought to life at the FirstBuild Microfactory. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.FirstBuild.com.

About Ubuntu

‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core is a super-lean, transactionally updated version of Ubuntu, perfect for inventors, technologists and the active and growing Ubuntu developer community, for cloud container hosts and smart, connected devices. It powers drones, robots, network switches, mobile base stations, industrial gateways, IoT home hubs and now, with Firstbuild, premium fridge-freezers.

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