May 14, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

It lets you send e-mail and surf the Web. It has a radio, TV, and cookbook. It’s a…refrigerator. With a touch-screen monitor built in, the Screenfridge (, is still a prototype, but Electrolux and its Frigidaire subsidiary hope it will become a kitchen communications hub. “What if Mom’s working late and the kids want to send her e-mail?” asks Frigidaire spokesman Tony Evans. The fridge might also have a bar-code reader so you can keep inventory of your peas, then reorder them online. Screenfridges should hit the market in 2000 or beyond; expect little Bobby’s crayon drawings to become multimedia productions shortly thereafter.

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