Google has received a patent for its technology that monitors quality of the food through sensors on the containers. The technology can display the quality condition in real time and can store data for subsequent analysis. It can also trigger an alarm if the condition of the food is not good.
The company had filed a patent application for a 'System and method for monitoring food' in 2007, which is related to systems and methods for monitoring conditions that affect the quality of food being served.
Conditions such as temperature and elapsed time affect the quality of food and the safety of food consumers. Various models of monitoring systems can be incorporated with different types of food containers and sensors such as temperature probes can provide temperature information about the container and the food being served, says the specification provided by the company to the Patent Office.
"The monitoring system can use such information in conjunction with elapsed time information in various ways. The monitored information can be displayed generally 'realtime,' or it can be stored for subsequent analysis," it said. The monitored information can also be used to trigger an alarm or similar indicator when a condition detrimental to food-serving is present.
In food service settings including buffets, cafeterias and other places where food items are brought out in large quantities in containers and left out for some time, with facilities to keep the warm food items warm and cold food items cold. However, there is a time limit for such food items to be kept outside without affecting the quality.
There are no reliable tools for tracking the environmental aspects of food such as temperature, humidity and others in storage and on a serving line, for the food providers and regulators, it said.
"For example, inspectors and customers typically cannot tell how long a food item has been on a serving line or how old a food item is. Thus, there is a need for improvement in the way food is stored and served. In particular, there is a need for an improved method of monitoring the conditions that can affect the quality and safety of the food that is ultimately served," the company said in the filing.
The company's invention uses methods including fixing various sensors such as humidity sensor, temperature sensor, chemical sensor, biological sensor and visual sensor connected to an indicator through wireless transmitter or audible alarm to alert if the food condition is affected.