Scourge of cereal, corrupter of coffee, cause of more spit takes than a Donald Trump press conference: rotten milk has ruined many mornings. And yet our only defense against the potentially stomach-souring effect is the simple, unreliable sniff test.
That may not be the case for much longer. Teams from University of California, Berkeley and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan are in the process of creating 3-D printed “smart caps," intelligent lids that sense bacterial levels in containers. The caps will be fitted with tiny electronic components that track decomposition. In theory, a quick flip of the milk carton will splash enough of its calcium-rich contents on the cap to provide an accurate reading.
After initial testing, the team concluded that “the positive results indicate that 3D devices with embedded metallic components can open up a new class of applications in devices.”
There have been attempts before to create the milk vessel of the future, namely Quirky and GE’s Milkmaid. The sensor-laden glass jug and stand setup was supposed to determine decomposition based on the milk’s pH levels and keep an eye on weight to alert you when you were running low. It didn’t pan out, likely because it was overly complicated (who has time to transfer milk from one container to another?) A cap makes more sense — and should save us from any olfactory errors.
-- Matt Berical