Innovation That Matters

Device sends SMS when milk is low or has gone off

Food & Drink

Crowdsourcing design company Quirky's Milkmaid smart container lets homeowners know if supplies are low or if the milk is turning.

Homeowners can already save time by using text message to control their kitchen stove while they are out of the house thanks to the Aga iTotal Control, but what if they get home and find the milk is off? Crowdsourcing design company Quirky’s Milkmaid smart container aims to solve that problem, sending SMS messages when it detects if supplies are low or if the milk is turning. In May, Quirky launched a competition in collaboration with GE that encouraged inventors to come up with a way to incorporate software into daily activities in order to improve them. The winning entry was the Milkmaid, a glass container that holds a quarter of a gallon of milk. The jug sits on top of plastic base, which uses weight, temperature and pH sensors to detect how much is in the container, whether it has been left out too long and if it is still ok to use. In the home, the quality of the milk is illustrated with a green LED that slowly turns orange as the liquid goes off. The base also contains a GSM radio module, SIM card and antenna, meaning that outside of the home, milk drinkers can be made aware via text message if they need to pick up a fresh carton on their way back. A prototype of the container has been successfully trialled and Quirky also plans to include a smartphone app enabling users to access data on their Milkmaid in real-time. The company is currently working out its pricing of the device before preparing it for mass market. More details about the product are given in the video below: The Milkmaid is yet another example of how our kitchens – and homes – are becoming smarter with new tools. Tech developers – what’s next?
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