'Smart Chopsticks' Can Detect Bad Food

Chinese invention started out as April Fool's joke
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2014 2:10 PM CDT
Updated Sep 5, 2014 2:22 PM CDT

In a country with as many tainted food scandals as China, using "smart chopsticks" could be a pretty wise move. Baidu, the Internet giant nicknamed "China's Google," unveiled the utensils at its annual conference in Beijing this week, explaining that they could detect tainted products like the recycled "gutter oil" sometimes used for cooking, the Wall Street Journal reports. The chopsticks, which Baidu says aren't ready for mass production yet, are capable of connecting to smartphones.

The company says the chopsticks can also measure heat, freshness, and sodium content, reports the BBC. "Chopsticks are the embodiment of Chinese wisdom," a Baidu exec told the conference. "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." (Another smart utensil is on the market in the US—an electronic fork that zaps overeaters.)

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