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Patent Alert: Amazon wins patent for spoilage-sniffing refrigerator

A refrigerator can slow down the spoilage of food and drinks stored within the refrigerator, although the process is not completely halted. Food or drinks in the refrigerator will eventually spoil. But how about a refrigerator that sniffs out a spoiled food using cameras and chemical sensors and even sends a notification to the user’s smartphone?

US patent US10373472 granted to Amazon, on August 6, 2019, discloses a system for determining whether food in a refrigerator has spoiled. The system includes a camera and a chemical sensor (such as potentiometric sensors, chemical field-effect transistor (ChemFET) sensors, chemiresistors, chemoreceptors, or other sensors) to detect the presence and quantity of chemical compounds (such as ethylene gas) released as a result of decomposition of food in the refrigerator. The chemical sensor reading from the refrigerator is compared with the threshold value and a corresponding alert (an indication that the food item is spoiled) is sent on the user’s smartphone using a mobile application (such as spoilage identification application). The mobile application can also track changes to a food item by comparing two or more captured images of the food items with each other.

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