Baidu Kuaisou: Smart Chopsticks To Detect Contamination In Food

Smartchopstick

Is food safety always a concern for you? Baidu has the answer with its latest development. The Chinese search-engine giant rolled out a so-called set of “smart chopsticks,” known as Kuaisou in Chinese, that it says can detect oils containing unsanitary levels of contamination. At the company’s annual technology conference, Baidu CEO Robin Li gave a brief introduction of the new product, which he called “a new way to sense the world.” Apart from Smart Chopsticks it also unveiled “Baidu Eye” which works similar to Google Glass yet can’t be called a clone.

Mr. Li said: “In the future, via Baidu Kuaisou, you’ll be able to know the origin of oil and water and other foods–whether they’ve gone bad and what sort of nutrition they contain.”

Zhong Nanshan, a health expert who discovered the SARS virus in 2003, says that up to 14 million tons of gutter oil were produced in China last year, with 3.5 million of these making it to dinner tables. And with huge demand driving up the cost of edible oil, it’s not uncommon for restaurants to pinch pennies and use contaminated oil bought from the black market.

Baidu Kuaisou “smart chopstick” is associated to an app which can be downloaded in smartphones to check the quality of your food.  In one experiment, the chopsticks were shown being swirled in olive oil, with the smartphone subsequently displaying a “good” reading. In another, the chopsticks registered a “bad” reading after being submerged into recycled cooking oil. In recent past China has observed various scams related to dietary products like toxic milk, recycled cooking oil, use of inedible colors that should not be included in food etc. Baidu believes it will be a next step at the user level where consumer will be able to monitor quality of food.

Chopstick

According to Baidu, the chopsticks measure the freshness of cooking oil. These chopsticks also will be able to measure PH levels, freshness, sodium content, temperature and calories. A price tag for the chopsticks hasn’t yet been announced, and the company said the product isn’t yet ready for mass production.

According to BBC report one of Baidu’s executive said “Chopsticks are the embodiment of Chinese wisdom and we have combined it with our advanced technology.” If the invention sounds a bit like an April Fool’s joke, that’s because it was: A Baidu spokesman tells AFP that the utensils started out as a joke that the company had no plan of pursuing, but they went into development after the April Fool’s video “generated a lot of excitement both internally and externally.”