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NFC Spices Up Meals for Intelligent Rack Users
Startup TasteTro has developed a spice system that leverages an NFC RFID reader from RFID Canada, as well as and tags on spice pods, to mix, dispense and manage data about a user's spice preferences.
Jul 18, 2018—
TasteTro is preparing the launch of an automated spice rack that employs Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to help consumers more easily select and access spices and blends for each recipe. The system also provides a means of communication between consumers using the device and TasteTro.
The TasteTro Spice System is an intelligent spice rack designed for use in household kitchens. It provides users with selected, measured spices and blends for a specific recipe, at the press of a button, and they can scroll through and select from preprogrammed blends. The spices are then dispensed from the appliance, ranging from a quarter-teaspoon to a tablespoon for individual spices or herbs and up to one-quarter cup of a variety of blends. NFC 13.56 MHz technology, compliant with the ISO 14443 standard, enables the system to identify which spices were loaded, then access and dispense them when they are requested, and track when they need to be replenished in the rack.
The team also worked with several technology providers, including NFC and RFID company RFID Canada, to determine how the rack could identify each spice pod, and thereby know which spice to dispense, as well as how much has been dispensed and thus how soon the spice needs to be replaced.
TasteTro opted to provide 20 of the most popular spices (such as oregano, basil, thyme and pepper), as well as blend options; a total of 50 are available with the product's initial launch. Those blends can be used in recipes for Italian dressing, for instance, or for meat rubs, marinades or smoothies in some of the 20 pods. There is also a central chamber that stores and dispenses salt in addition to the pods.
When a spice or blend has been selected, the rack's turning console rotates the pods past the NFC reader built into the center base. TasteTro has not determined which of the NFC readers it has been testing will be built into the device. The pod itself, shaped like a pie wedge, comes with an NFC label attached to its bottom, measuring 33 millimeters by 81 millimeters (1.3 inches by 3.2 inches). The off-the-shelf labels come from a variety of suppliers, Moroz says.
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