There's a new milk jug on the scene and it's not like anything you've seen before. In fact it's part appliance. This jug holds up to a quart of milk and, thanks to sensors located in its base, can tell you whether your milk is on its way to going sour and if you need more. The jug's base then sends you a text to keep you in the loop.
The "Milkmaid" is the result of a contest between creative crowdsourcing site Quirky and General Electric. People were given the chance to pitch ideas for everyday items that could be improved with technology and the winner was the core concept for the milk-monitoring jug.
Quirky, which helps bring concepts from the idea stage to life, helped refine the design, creating something that looks sleek and modern, hiding the metal PH and weight sensors in the bottom of the jug. The jug itself sits in a SmartBase that acts as the information hub. The Base houses a controller that operates LED sensors on the outside of the base which give the owner the visual cue the milk is going bad.
Green is good; orange bad. No more sniffing the carton.
The SmartBase does more than just give you visual information. It can send you a message to your smart phone so you know when to pick up more of the good stuff. It operates courtesy of a GSM radio module, an antenna, SIM card and a battery to keep in communication with your phone.
When the stats show your milk is sour or about to run out you'll get a text — which is pretty handy to have on your phone when you might be near a store.
Next steps are to incorporate more milk friendly stats that you are likely to want linked with your phone — things like temperature, recipes and perhaps even automatic re-ordering. Many of the ideas for improvements come from the community on Quirky who can "fan" a product and suggest ideas during the process.
Now that the contest winning product has been chosen by Quirky and GE, and it has reached the prototype stage, outside of further technical development, Quirky turns to the consumer side of the equation. They ask the crowd what they'd be willing to pay for such a device. This important step will help determine whether mass production is cost effective and just how much people really love the idea.
If you want to weigh in just head over to Quirky to let them know just how valuable a Milkmaid would be to you!