You might be sick of seeing the word “smart” tossed in front of every name for every little gadget, especially on something as iconically simple as a pair of chopsticks. But for Chinese citizens, it could actually prevent them from getting sick.
Baidu, the giant search engine company that’s basically a Chinese Google, claims its new “Kuaisou” smart chopsticks will detect whether your food is cooked with recycled oil—otherwise known as “gutter oil.” It's called that because the stuff could literally be sourced from gutters (as well as dumpsters and sewers).
It’s a very known and very illegal problem in China, and the chopsticks are hailed by Baidu as one of the ways citizens can protect themselves.
Between melamine-tainted baby formula, inedible pigment used to make food more appealing (and lethal), and a fast food chain supplier distributing expired meat, it’s no wonder that Chinese citizens are extra cautious about the food they eat.
But what do these smart chopsticks do for us over here in the land of the free? Tainted food isn’t as big of a problem here, but an eating utensil that can give us information like cholesterol levels, sodium levels, or calories would be quite helpful. That’s the direction Baidu wants to head in with these chopsticks.
The company hasn’t set a price or release date for the Kuaisou just yet, so whether the chopsticks are a viable solution to China’s food safety problems remains to be seen. And while it’s nice to see necessity driving innovation, we really wish it wasn’t inspired by something like glow-in-the-dark pork meat.