Email Your Refrigerator

It weighs about four ounces, fits in the palm of your hand and lets you talk to home appliances like your refrigerator through basic email communications. Cermetek Microelectronics says its latest modem is the key to the modern Internet Modem Appliance.

“Let’s say your fridge is on the fritz,” says Cermetek VP Roy Selinger. “With this modem, the fridge sends an email to you, your repair company or even to the manufacturer.”

The device, known as the Internet Modem Appliance CH2160, is a high speed V.90 modem that sends and receives data at standard 56K speeds and only requires a very low amount of power to run (5 volts). No external PC is required because each modem has its own intelligence. The modems support TCP/IP, PPP, SMTP and POP3 Internet protocols and the boxes are FCC approved.

The modems were originally designed for medical monitoring systems, but have since been expanded into the security sector and even vending machine management.

“Let’s say you have this installed as part of your home security system,” says Selinger. “If someone breaks into your house, you could have your house send you an email to your pager or Palm or PC, instead of using a third party security firm like ADP.”

Selinger says the modems could also be adapted to receive your email commands to do things like power up or shut down.

Sunnyvale-based Cermetek markets the Internet Modem Appliance to manufacturers and offers 1000 individual modems for $99.95. But, unless you know what you are doing, Selinger recommends you invest in their Engineering Evaluation Kit at $229.95.

“With the kit, you get one modem but you also get a complete PCB board and indicator lamps,” says Selinger.

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