The smartphone market turned out to be worth billions of dollars, and now smart wearables looks set to take off. But how about smart eating utensils – do you think they have a chance?
China-based Baidu does, which is why it’s just unveiled a set of smart chopsticks. Really.
Unveiled this week at the company’s annual technology conference, Baidu boss Robin Li explained how the battery-powered smart utensils can, for example, test the condition of the cooking oil used to prepare a particular dish. Used widely in Chinese cooking, oil can become contaminated if it’s improperly processed, and can also affect people’s health if it’s repeatedly reheated.
If the stick’s sensors detect bad oil when they’re dipped in the dish, a lights on the top of the utensils flash red, while additional information about the oil’s make-up can be viewed via the companion smartphone app. If the food is safe, on the other hand, the lights flash blue.
Baidu’s smart sticks can also measure a dish’s acidity and saltiness, Li said, adding that he wants to develop them further to include more functionality.
Baidu hasn’t said when it might launch its creation, though considering the number of food scandals to hit China in recent years, they could well prove popular with cautious consumers keen to confirm that their dinner won’t result in a lengthy visit to the bathroom, or worse, the hospital.
So now Baidu’s got the ball rolling, how long before we see someone launch the first smart fork, which glows red when the food’s too hot, or a smart knife that sends a notification to your smart watch to let you know it needs sharpening (in case you hadn’t noticed), or, perhaps more helpfully, a smart spoon that tots up the calories of all of those rich desserts as they pass from bowl to belly.