GE and invention lab Quirky teamed up in May 2012 to crowdsource ideas for a new appliance. The result is a smart milk container called MilkMaid. The appliance measures milk pH to alert the consumer if the milk has gone bad.
The goal of the design exercise was to look for ways to make basic appliance smarter with software.
"We've embraced the digital side of things and it's highly stimulating, but not tactile," GE Executive Director Linda Boff said in an interview with TechCrunch. "At a very simple level, there is a desire to make things, to hold things in your hand, and [this partnership] is a come-one-come-all invitation to invention."
The appliance measures milk pH to determine how acidic or alkaline it is. Milk's optimum pH is a slightly acidic pH 6.7. When milk spoils its pH drops. MilkMaid will turn on a red LED light and send the user a milk "status" text message.
An iPhone app will even send the user milk updates - including the number of cups of milk remaining, expiration date, and temperature. If milk does go bad the app can even send the user a sour milk recipe.
A sample of the appliance was produced but GE has not announced any plans to manufacture and sell the appliance.
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