Tech4food: Why was that invented? 

An endless stream of inventions and products are created everyday all hoping to get a piece of both my pocket and yours. Interestingly enough sometimes whether we need it or not we just have to have that one thing; that one item that we trick ourselves into thinking we will die without. A perfect example lies in one trend, earlier this year among many young people: the mobile charger.

I admit it.

When I first learned of it I truly wanted the device. It’s mobile, holds a long charge and most importantly it held the promise to bring life back to our precious phones, tablets and the like. But how is this device, that I so desperately wanted hold power….via USB connected to an outlet or computer. Yes, the mobile charger had to be charged.

Isn’t that what we must do for our phones in any case? Its only novelty is the aspect of mobility. However if power for our mobiles at any time is what we seek, why not use a solar powered charger? As a result what I so desperately needed simply vanished at the prospect of a more impactful device. So why was the mobile charger invented?

You be the judge. Here are some food technologies that poses the question to you. Is it useful? Does the design strike at you? Would you buy these inventions for your household?

Going bad or still good: Edible Sensors

FastCompany.com reports on Hu “Tiger” Tao, a post-doctoral student at Tufts University in Massachusetts, who since 2013, has been working on a chewable sensor made from silk.

Image courtesy: wanderlustmind.com

Image courtesy: wanderlustmind.com

Silk has been used for millennia in cloth, and more recent applications have included all sorts of medical, scientific and electronic uses. Tao’s design uses tiny gold antennae embedded in a purified silk substrate that can be dunked into liquids like milk or pasted onto eggs or bananas or other foods using the silk’s own sticky, glue-like properties. The sensors monitor food quality, alerting you when your fruit is ripe or your milk starts to go bad.

Am I missing something? Can’t we clearly tell when food, and in particular natural food has gone bad? The sensor sounds impressive but I would rather use my own senses of smell, sight and taste to determine the quality of my food.

Waste not, want not: Bee’s Wrap

Hopefully this item will soon replace plastic & foil wrap, encourage recycling and reduce the amount of food that is wasted and thrown away within many households.

Image courtesy: Marisa McClellan/Flickr

Image courtesy: Marisa McClellan/Flickr

Created by Vermont farmer Sarah Kaeck, Bee’s Wrap is a biodegradable, nontoxic, organic alternative to disposable plastic wrap. Bee’s Wrap is made from organic cotton muslin and infused with beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, which have natural antibacterial properties and make the wrap easily reusable. Using the wrap is also simple; the warmth of pressing the wrap closed seals it, protecting food and holding liquids securely. The wrap is air- and watertight and can be used hundreds of times after being cleaned with cold water and soap. In its production, use, and disposal, Bee’s Wrap is friendly to the environment and made of only natural ingredients.

Certainly this interesting technology, which hails from concepts of former civilizations, has great sustainable use to the consumer household, particularly for families. Why it was created is clear. If the product was available to you, would you purchase it?

Refuel yourself and your phone: The Power Pot

Undecided on the practicality of this one; it is innovative in that cooking is a cultural and human practice done almost everyday therefore multitasking that with charging devices is beneficial. However to be honest is the device not a fire hazard? Each device that the item can power is not flame resistant. Once again, solar powered chargers sort of steal the show in this instance. What do you think?

Image coutesy: Technologyblog.biz

Image coutesy: Technologyblog.biz

The Power Pot converts heat into electricity. One can charge his or her phone while cooking. As such, it can charge any USB device over any heat source. Any USB device like digital cameras, smartphones, lights, radios, head lamps, GPS and water purifier can be powered on and used with the help of this device. The device gives 5 Watts of power any time whether it is day or night or it is raining or there is sunshine. As a result it gives 90 minutes of talk time with 20 minutes of charging.

Tech4agri is interested in your opinion. Feel free to comment and even share other technologies that offer up a question of practicality!

3 Comments

  1. Great article showing innovation in food area. i like the two latter technologies (the bee wrap and the power pot) but I can’t see the importance of the first. We already have natural ways to find out wether the fruit or milk are ripe or going bad and I don’t think this methods have showed their limitations. I want to say for the power pot that it will be useful only for the cook but if we can use it with any heat source, that would be an awesome tech. Especially if the product cost is low, it will be great in developping country. The bee wrap is an awesome tech. Such innovations which is sustainable and help reduce food waste must be promoted and share.

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