Smart Chopsticks Can Detect Unsafe Food
Chinese search engine firm Baidu has unveiled a pair of smart chopsticks that it says can warn users if their food is unsafe to eat.
The internet firm revealed a prototype of the device at its annual developers' conference in Beijing on Thursday.
It says the battery-powered chopsticks are fitted with sensors which can detect "gutter oil" - illegally reprocessed cooking oil which can contain carcinogenic compounds.
Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo said: "The light will flash red if the TPM (Total Polar Materials) level in oil is above 25%, indicating that the oil has been re-used beyond a level deemed safe."
Mr Kuo said the chopsticks can assess acidity levels and the temperature of oil. He added that the idea behind the device originally began as an April Fool's video.
A video of the chopsticks shows the electronic utensils being placed in three different cups of cooking oil.
The sensors can also detect the pH level of food and can be linked with a smartphone app to display full findings.
Poor food safety is a major concern in China. One of its worst food scandals saw six children die and some 300,000 fall unwell after the industrial chemical melamine was illegally added to dairy products in 2008.
Gutter oil is made by reprocessing waste oil or by dredging up leftovers from restaurants.
Last year authorities in China arrested more than 100 people for gutter oil production. Twenty people were jailed, two of them for life.