Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I have a cell phone.  It is not a Smart Phone.  It is a dumb phone; but more accurately I should specify that it is “dumb” because its owner is dumb.  My cell phone rings and I answer it.  I punch in the numbers to make a call and I talk.  That’s it.  I don’t use it much and I always have about 800 minutes unused on it.  And I’m perfectly fine with that.
I know from watching my kids and grandkids that new applications are being devised for phone use all the time.  (I also know we are raising a generation of children who will have never heard of the whole words “facsimile” and “application,” but that’s another story).  Buying the newest or most compicated cell phone model is not something that one’s disposable income is used for, anymore; amazingly it has become as necessary as buying toilet paper.  I know I am out of step with the times; I probably am going to die dumb but doing so sure doesn’t cause me any loss of sleep. 

So I’m not one to get excited because a new “app” is coming, but Jerry forwarded to me an article from his MIT magazine that I found quite interesting, and it has to do with a Smart Phone and food. In development at this time is a miniature spectrometer that will instantly analyze whether a piece of fruit is ripe or whether a piece of meat contains too much water.  Right now it is smaller than a sugar cube, and while developers are not saying that it will someday integrate its capabilities into a Smart phone, one does tend to think that handwriting on the wall points that direction.  What will happen is this, according to the article:  “Simply shine broad bandwidth light on a piece of food, which will reflect different near-infrared wavelengths of varying intensities.  A device measuring the spectrum reflected back can then infer the properties of the item being scanned.” 

If this device should come to market looking like a sugar cube or a die, totally separate from the current hand-held electronics, I doubt that the masses would rush out to purchase one.  But up the capability of one's phone to be able to find the perfect peach - sweet and juicy right now - would be a winner!
I can visualize it now: dozens of shoppers waving their smartphones over each and every plum, each and every tomato, each and every peach, watermelon and cantaloupe in the produce sections of the market.   Of course this would mean that the dumb phone users like me couldn’t get past the elbows of all the shoppers checking fruit piece by piece, and we would have to be satisfied with all the same unripe fruit that we are getting now. 

The article makes it clear that this device, in whatever shape or form it eventually appears, is three to five years in the future.  I have to think positively, however, about that future.  At the rate my teeth are disintegrating (the dentist tells me there are cavities under the fillings from the first cavities, which can only be rectified by crowns, root canals, or implants) I’ll soon be on a diet of baby food in jars anyway. 

No, there still is no Smart phone in my future.  Long live the dumb phone.

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