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Apple AR patent designed to detect the freshness of food

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple filed a patent for an electronic device being described possessing "beam-steered infrared light sensing." The patent itself goes over plenty of applications for this technology, but a few standout claims in particular explain its usage relating to food items.

Utilizing "optical sensing," Apple's patent suggests that this augmented reality device can scan food items, whether it be to evaluate ripeness or caloric content. Other applications include the ability to provide information on the user's body and scanning other types of items like animals, plants, buildings, automobiles, electronics, furniture and more inanimate objects.

This is only a patent, so it is yet to be seen if Apple will actually make use of the technology. However, it would be quite substantial if it worked properly, although it admittedly seems a bit far fetched. Even if the AR glasses could accurately do everything the patent claims it can, I question if users would trust this technology enough to use it practically, rather than as an amusing gimmick or party trick.

To be more specific, Apple's patent claims that this AR technology will evaluate "various food characteristics such as food freshness, fat content, protein content, carbohydrate content, species, sugar content, caloric content, food type (meat, fish, dairy, fruit, vegetable, etc.), sweetness, ripeness, etc." Users could activate this technology by aiming the AR glasses at an object and utilizing a voice command by saying something like "scan orange."

Some of these claims seem like a wild fantasy, but perhaps Apple is truly setting its eyes on an ambitious future. If this technology works as intended, I imagine many health nuts will find a way to fit it in their daily lives.