At one time hardware manufacturers frowned on consumers trying to hack or modify their products, but they're slowly coming around to the idea. In fact, GE finally sees being able to hack an appliance as a value-added feature, so the company is releasing an interface board that makes it easy to mod your fridge, dryer, freezer or whatever.
The $US20 open-source Green Bean Maker Module allows a compact computing device like a Raspberry Pi to interface directly with the guts of a GE appliance, giving it access to data coming from sensors, timers, and even allowing it to remotely control the hardware. So say a load of clothes in your dryer just finished, but you can't get there to take them out. You could have a notification pop up on your smartphone letting you know it was done, including the option of remotely running the dryer for another 30 minutes until you're able to take them out.
The lineup of hackable GE appliances isn't comprehensive yet; in fact, only a handful of the company's higher-end offerings are hackable. But if this initiative results in some particularly popular and neat hacks, it will certainly encourage the appliance maker to make more of its hardware compatible with the Green Bean. [Green Bean Maker Module via Make]