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Milkmaid smart jug texts you when the milk goes bad

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June 10, 2012

Milkmaid - A smart milk jug that detects when the milk is off and reminds you to buy more ...

Milkmaid - A smart milk jug that detects when the milk is off and reminds you to buy more - Stylish design

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Who hasn't had milk go bad in the fridge and not noticed until all the shops are shut? The prototype Milkmaid "smart jug" aims to solve this problem by detecting spoiled milk and sending a message to its owner informing them of the need to buy fresh supplies.

The Milkmaid was developed as the result of a contest held by General Electric and Quirky - a crowdsourcing site for product development. The challenge was to make everyday objects "smarter with software." Emerging from the various pitches came a request from Stephanie Burns for a milk jug "that tells when it's REALLY going bad." Thus the Milkmaid was born.

There are three aspects to the Milkmaid. The first is its ability to detect when milk is starting to turn. This is managed by a pH sensor in the base. According to the video below milk has an optimum pH level of 6.7, and this drops as the milk starts to spoil. The pH sensor in the base of the Milkmaid smart jug detects these changes and informs its owner by changing the color of its LED lights. In addition the Milkmaid sends a text message to an assigned mobile phone with the status of the milk, which is the second aspect. The third is a free iPhone app (no word yet on versions for Android or Windows Phone) that lists stats about the milk contained within the Milkmaid. This includes how much liquid is left, the temperature, and the expected expiration date.

Milkmaid - A smart milk jug that detects when the milk is off and reminds you to buy more ...

The quart-sized jug can be removed from the "SmartBase" to be used just like any other container. Thankfully some thought has gone into the look of the jug itself, and it could grace the kitchen of any design-conscious individual with a pressing need for the smart capabilities contained within the base.

The Milkmaid is currently at the prototype stage and the potential product has been offered up to the users of Quirky for assessment. The crowd will now have their say, suggesting the price they'd be willing to pay and how much of a need they feel exists for such a product. Based on the responses the Milkmaid may end up being mass-produced. But that's far from guaranteed at this stage in the process.

There is no doubt this is a clever innovation but I'm not sure how many people will want to pay extra for a product with a raison d'être that can be mimicked with a keen sense of smell and the simple art of sniffing.

Source: Quirky via TechCrunch

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.   All articles by Dave Parrack
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8 Comments

This is now geting out of control. A texting milk jug? Next a texting toaster to tell you to clean the crumb tray? Texting toilet paper dispensor to say pick some more TP up on the way home? Technology for the mindless. Sorry, have to go, as my vacuum cleaner just texted me to let me know it's time top vacuum the carpets.

Ct
11th June, 2012 @ 07:07 am PDT

I would buy this in a heartbeat just to avoid arguments with my lactophobic wife, who (a) is always afraid the milk is bad, and (b) refuses to sniff it to find out. She would prefer to just toss perfectly good milk on the off chance that it's "off". Issues: it doesn't look like it would hold much (even a quart?) and it seems to require its own power source... how do you plug in something inside the fridge? Is this another "oh crap, the battery's dead in the milk jug because I forgot to recharge it" issue? [#first-world-problems]

Steven Gullion
11th June, 2012 @ 09:28 am PDT

Steven, the base has a rechargeable battery inside, but I suspect it lasts a long time in between charges. Also, there is scope to change the size of the jug but the prototype holds a quart.

Dave Parrack
11th June, 2012 @ 10:02 am PDT

I'd buy this too... time to contact the manufacturer on target date of availability.. what a great idea!

Jonathan Golfo
11th June, 2012 @ 01:11 pm PDT

How about the milk distributors incorporate some kind of stable litmus paper on the sides of milk jugs? When the pH goes down and changes the color of the strip, it would indicate high lactic acid concentration, i.e. spoiled milk. That would be much simpler than some electronic gadget.

Gadgeteer
11th June, 2012 @ 05:03 pm PDT

Yes, you will need a battery leak texting alert and a texting battery alert for your texting milk alert and a cereal freshness texting alert and a spoon germ texting alert and a phone texting text alert for your car texting alert and a tomato text alert and an carbonation alert text for that opened Coke and a leftovers text alert and a lettuce text alert and a salmon text alert and a ketchup text alert and a mustard text alert and an ionization text alert and a fridge mold text alert and a fridge temperature text alert and a global warming text alert and, most importantly, an unlimited texting plan overage text alert!

Tom Renk
12th June, 2012 @ 07:58 am PDT

Isn't the idea of the disposable paper carton to keep bacteria away from the milk so it lasts longer? If you pour your freshly purchased carton of milk into this jug, won't the bacteria in the jug (unless it's autoclavable) just start spoiling the milk right away? Don't people know about Faraday cages? This is so badly thought out that it's beyond laughable.

Laura Wood
12th June, 2012 @ 10:53 am PDT

I like this! Atleast the part where you can see if its bad or not. Especially nice for people like me, that suffer from Anosmia. :)

Daniel Edström
20th July, 2012 @ 05:29 am PDT
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