REFRIGERATORS could let people know remotely when they are running low on milk as part of the rapid advance of the internet, a university expert has said.

Within five years humans could be receiving more texts from machines than humans, according to Dr Kevin Curran.

The University of Ulster reader in computer science said what he termed the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow consumers to interact with nearly every appliance and device they own.

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He said some examples had already reached the marketplace, such as controlling the lights and temperature in your home, closing the garage door while across town, receiving alerts from a smoke detector.

But he warned: "Like any new technology or idea, there are kinks that need to be worked out." He said security would be a priority if connected devices contracted a virus or malware.