Connected Objects Food and Beverage

Proscan scans food for nutritional content

It’s always best for everybody to know exactly what’s in the food they’re eating -– especially if they’re on a diet or have a serious allergy to foods such as peanuts. Unfortunately, a list of ingredients isn’t always available.

Proscan is a water resistant device that quickly scans any food and displays a list of the calories, energy, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol and dietary fiber that it contains. The device works by using a load sensor, optical sensor (spectrometer), other advanced sensors and complex algorithms to analyze food and then display its nutritional content on the device’s touch-sensitive display screen or on a Bluetooth-connected iPhone, Apple Watch, Android device, or Windows Phone. In speaker mode, all scan results are read aloud via Proscan’s speakers.

Provided that a $50,000 goal is reached by April 14, Proscan will ship in December in a choice of a Beam (rectangular) model or a round version. The entry price is about $349 for a regular model. Proscan Mini versions will cost about $238, while customized versions with color options and engraved wording will cost about $419. The Indiegogo campaign is slated to end on April 14.

There have been other food scanner campaigns in recent memory. The SCiO is one product that comes to mind, although that product was designed to analyze surrounding environments as well. If Proscan works as easily and seamlessly as it appears to in its Indiegogo campaign video, the product may very well hold some promise. Still, a pocket device like SCiO seems much more practical, especially when dining at a restaurant or traveling, which would seem to be when users would want it most.

Food and Beverage

Congelato makes sure your food keeps its cool while you serve it

Keeping food on ice so that it has a pleasant and fresh appearance for presentation and also stays safe to eat at parties is something of a hassle. The makers of Congelato wanted to find a better way. Their idea is to use icepacks and stainless steel pans to keep food cold when it is time to take it out of the refrigerator and enjoy the meal. Food will stay cold for up to 24 hours, but icepacks must be placed in the freezer for 2-4 hours in advance.

Congelato can also be used to keep food hot if the packs are placed in boiling water for about 15 minutes, but food only remains hot for about 90 minutes, so the product seems to be much more oriented toward cold dishes. If one can prep by freezing the packs to use this product, then it seems like a great way to keep food cool. This campaign seeks to raise $200,000 CAD (~$176,400 USD) by December 14, 2014. Early bird backers get one basic product for $85 CAD (~$75 USD) with an expected delivery of May 2015.


Hydroguard barrier seeks to foil the flood

SONY DSCLiving in a flood prone area can make a simple thunderstorm a pretty stressful experience. While sandbags are one option for protecting one’s home or business, Hydroguard is a mechanism that seems far easier to use and potentially more effective. The sliding barrier includes a unique sealing technology that is supposed to allow the flood water damage preventer to fit any doorframe within minutes, and it’s reusable. It’s not clear how many feet or meters the flood blocking gadget can keep out, but for £199 GBP, early bird backers get one product, with an expected delivery of March 2015. The expected retail is £249.

Food and Beverage Safety

Slip Me Not keeps spikers, creepers away

Slip Me NotThis item may be the dream of every father and mother of a teenage or college-age daughter. Slip Me Not is an interesting device that makes drink spikers keep their naughty little deeds to themselves. The product is made of a clear, adhesive film that fits over the top of various sized glasses, keeping anything nefarious away from the beverage. A straw can be inserted if preferred, or simply poke a hole in the same area. Seems like clear plastic wrap could function in much the same way as this product if one always pours their own drink, but attending a party with plastic wrap tucked under one’s arm might look a bit strange. For $10 AUD backers get two packs of products and an expected delivery of February 2015.

Cooking Food and Beverage

PERES e-nose smells trouble when meat misses the mark

The Premise. Food poisoning is no fun, and also no joke. With an estimated 5,000 deaths related to food-borne illnesses in the US every year, it’s important to be completely confident that any food consumed is safe and free from disease.

The Product. The PERES is an “e-nose” that is designed to do something no other device has been able to offer consumers: test meat for any potential consumption risks. Compatible with beef, pork, poultry, and fish, the PERES takes an air sample from the proximity from any bit of meat and analyzes the sample looking for any harmful bacteria or signs of spoiling. With the ability to detect over 100 different kinds of harmful substances and instant Bluetooth transmission to a phone or tablet, meat can be analyzed quickly and easily to make sure that dinner will be enjoyable and safe to eat.

The Pitch. ARS LAB, the company behind the PERES, introduces the device and discusses its inception after a nasty case of food poisoning suffered by the CEO’s wife. Backing PERES does more than just bring a device to market, a significant portion of the proceeds are also being donated to various relevant charities. PERES needs $100,000 to finish prototype development as well as to complete the included app. ARS LAB offers a referral program that can result in a free device for referring 10 backers, and also has a number of stretch goals. At $135,000, there will be add-ons for the device to give it new features. $250,000 will include a standalone device that can function without a smartphone, while $350,000 will turn the PERES into a home safety device that can detect gas leaks and humidity. At the $500,000 mark, the team claims that PERES can help detect fertility, be a home drug testing kit, and even prevent infidelity with its powerful nose.

The Perks. A PERES e-nose is available to backers who pledge $120. Developers who want to add more functionality to the device can get the SDK and one of the devices for $750. The first batch is expected to ship in July 2014.

The Potential. The food safety industry can always use as much help as it can get, and PERES seems like a great thing for any home cook or even restaurant owner to keep handy. The social sharing aspects of the device seem a little unnecessary (who wants a status update from their friends about spoiled meat?) but overall the device is a great kitchen implement that would be right at home next to any meat thermometers.