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3D printed smart cap sniffs out sour milk

posted 16 August 2015 at 07:32:40

Worried about accidentally ruining your bowl of cereal or cup of tea by using sour milk? Perhaps not for much longer. Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley and Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University have created a wireless 3D printed plastic smart cap with embedded electronics that can detect when milk has gone off. You tilt the milk carton upside down so that some milk flows into the cap, and a wireless sensor in the cap will alert you to signs of high levels of bacteria, which are a sign of spoilage. The cost of using electronic circuits in this way may be prohibitive at the moment, but perhaps one day we will be able to check the freshness of produce using our cell phones. 

There are other applications for the technology in the pipeline too – the researchers are currently working on ways of using it in health applications – for example for implantable devices that can monitor blood pressure, muscle strain or drug concentrations in the body.  

Image: © UC Berkleley & Sung-Yueh Wu