Two teens from Vancouver have just revolutionized the way people eat. Specifically, they invented high-tech utensils that detect bacteria in the food we ingest. Aside from scanning our food for germs, these utensils can also identify allergens and the food’s nutritional content.
The geniuses responsible for this ground-breaking piece of technology, as reported by Globe and Mail, are 16-year-olds Angela Wang and Madeleine Liu. According to Madeleine, she was inspired to create something that could change the way we eat when she saw her family struggling with allergies and food-related ailments. On the other hand, for Angela, she says that she just wants to see a change like in America, where many people are sent to hospitals for allergic reactions. Though their motives differ, their goal to improve people’s eating habits is the same.
Both Angela and Madeleine are grade 11 students from Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy and at such a young age did they already receive an award for “most disruptive idea”. But their success didn’t stop there; they even founded a company called “Culitech”!
So how does their invention work?
Angela’s and Madeleine’s “smart cutlery” is designed with technology called “near-infrared spectrometry” to detect any germs and allergens in the food. Every utensil comes with a detachable mini-spectrometer that emits infrared waves to analyze what the food is comprised of down to its molecular level. Madeleine says that all food molecules vibrate in their own way, giving them their own distinct optical signature. By using the signature, the smart cutlery can identify what exactly are the contents of the meal. They even measure the meal’s nutritional value, as mentioned before. That’s one way to make sure a person thinks twice before cutting a brownie slice! Well, that won’t always be a good though.
Anyway, these high-tech utensils are all made to bring humanity towards the next level in health. Though it’s still in its research and development stage, the girls hope to finish their prototype soon so that their company may receive more funding. They also hope to commercialize the product when it’s all finished.
The girls say that the product is flexible can cater to different needs. Like how in China, helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that spreads orally and the smart cutlery can be designed to focus on detecting helicobacter pylori and other germs- thus, preventing its spread. Meanwhile in the United States, the utensils can be outfitted to primarily identify allergens since a lot of the country’s citizens are allergic to something.
The future holds much for both Angela and Madeleine. Though they hope to go to different colleges, they still wish to work together and make the dreams of Culitech come to fruition. As the saying goes, “the world is their oyster”!
Learn more about their wonderful work below: