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New “Smart Chopsticks” Tell You If Your Food Is Poisonous

Posted: 09/4/2014 1:14 pm

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safetyChina has been hit with several food scandals in recent years (which we’ve covered extensively here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), making some scared to even risk dining out. Under such dire circumstances, what is a foodie supposed to do? Baidu, fresh off unveiling its glasses that allow you to wear the GFW on your head, thinks it has an answer.

Kuaisou are a pair of “smart chopsticks” equipped with onboard sensors that test the quality of the food they touch. The information is then sent to your smartphone, so you can see whether what you are about to eat is actually safe.

Baidu CEO Robin Li called the product “a new way of becoming aware of the world.” baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safety

Kuaisou can test for oil, water, temperature, pH levels, and nutritional information, and has three main features:

  • The device can tell if fried food was made with “gutter oil” or re-used oil by passing a grade of “Excellent”, “Good”, or “Unacceptable”.
  • Kuaisou can test drinks for their pH levels and determine the presence of mild acids.
  • It can test fruit for their sweetness, variety, and source. Kuaisou are said to be able to determine if a red Fuji apple comes from Shandong or Shaanxi.

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safetyKuaisou will eventually be able to detect melamine in milk products and be able to discern the difference between real and fake lamb barbecue skewers.

The high-tech chopsticks are expected to go into production soon.

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safety


[h/t WSJ China Real Time]

Photos: 3lian, Chinabyte


China’s Google Glass Killer? Introducing The BaiduEye

Posted: 09/3/2014 2:43 pm

baidueyeHere’s the newly announced BaiduEye, a computer peripheral that can be worn like a pair of glasses.

Baidu took the wraps off the high-tech device at BaiduWorld 2014, reports Sina Tech. As you can see from photographs of the device, it has a camera and an earphone, and can even can go online and identify objects, such as human faces, via the camera.

Wearable, camera-equipped, internet-surfing glasses will no doubt draw comparisons to Google Glass, but Baidu says its product is totally different. For starters, there’s new screen, or heads-up display, on BaiduEye.


A Baidu engineer explained that BaiduEye is lighter without a screen, and won’t distract users with constant on-screen messages.

A major feature of BaiduEye is that it can be controlled through the use of hand gestures. By pointing at an object and making specific gestures with your hands, a user will be able to activate and control BaiduEye.


Baidu CEO Li Yanhong explains:

If a person is strolling in Wanda Plaza and discovers a girl wearing a pretty dress, they can discover at which store this dress was purchased by taking a picture. By looking at a poster, they can figure out at what time a movie is playing, and book a seat and pay for it. The combination of online and offline make this the era of personal (wearable) computers.

BaiduEye does not yet have a specific release date, a retail price, or even a Chinese name. No detailed specification sheet was released either.


Photos: Sina Tech, Caixin


Baidu heat map shows thousands fleeing Dongguan after crackdown

Posted: 02/12/2014 6:08 pm

Just prior to the Chinese New Year holiday, Baidu published a heat map that showed the most popular travel routes within China. It got some attention for showing which parts of the country were most impacted by the insane chunyun travel rush.

Now it’s being put to use for another purpose: showing what’s happened in Dongguan following the crackdown on prostitution in the city. As you can see below, the rush is on, and it’s in one direction: away from Dongguan.

Asia Sentinel reports a full 10% of the city’s population is involved in the sex trade, or some 800,000 people. And once police began busting brothels, it was time to get the hell outta Dodge:

That prompted an exodus from the city in all directions – although, according to Baidu’s heat map, a full quarter of the departures headed for Hong Kong in a hurry. According to the Tech in Asia website, Baidu gathers data from smartphones with Baidu Maps and other apps using its location-based platform to create the heat map. Baidu Maps alone has more than 200 million registered users and receives 3.5 million position requests every day, according to Tech in Asia. The heat map updates every four to eight hours, showing the most popular destinations, points of origin, and travel routes.

According to the map, in a report made public in the Hong Kong-based publication, other cities that were destinations for the fleeing tourists were Ganzhou, Jiangxi, Guangxi Yulin, Chenzhou, Hunan and Zhejiang Ningbo. The Baidu live map visualizes the hottest migration routes. From 12 noon to 8 pm, the rush was on.

The question now is whether the sex trade will return to Dongguan, à la regularly shuttered pirated DVD shops, or the party is well and truly over.


Shenzhen, at the cutting edge of tech in China, has highest Weibo penetration rate

Posted: 12/14/2012 11:17 am

It could be argued that Shenzhen is becoming China’s very own Silicon Valley.  It is the home of Tencent, China’s largest web company and creator of QQ and the WeChat/Weixin apps, and also Huawei, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world.  Shenzhen will also be home of Baidu’s impressive new international headquarters when it opens in 2015.  This doesn’t even touch on the fact the vast majority of the world’s electronics are manufactured here or near here, and a burgeoning trade of gadgets and toys has made Huaqiangbei almost as famous as Tokyo’s Akibahara neighbourhood.

It should be no surprise then that Shenzhen also leads the way when it comes to internet penetration rates and use of Sina’s popular Weibo microblogging service.  The Shenzhen Development Internet Research Report found that Shenzhen’s internet penetration rate is 76.8%, well ahead of Beijing and Shanghai. It means means 7.97 million people are online in the city.

Liu Bing, vice-president of China Internet Information Center, said that Shenzhen’s netizens infrastructure is better than most cities in China. Netizens between 20 to 40 year-old account for approximately 60%. Take a closer look on these young netizens, student groups are comparatively smaller while on-job groups are bigger. Netizens’ education level is higher than the national average.

Guangzhou’s rate stands at 72.9%, also ahead of Beijing and Shanghai.

As for Sina Weibo use, the report says it is used by 58.6% of netizens in Shenzhen, which is 10 percentage points higher than the national average.

At the same time, Shenzhen weibo users are more active. The ratio of netizens who use weibo 3 times per day is 16 percentage points higher than the average. Weibo users that spent more than 2 hours per day account for 35.3%.

Except for performance on weibo, Shenzhen netizens are also more active on SNS, blogs, BBS and online videos compared with netizens in other first-tier cities.

Perhaps Beijing’s vaunted Zhongguancun won’t be considered ground zero for China’s tech industry for much longer.

(h/t @Chomagerider)


Facebook may find a way to enter China

Posted: 04/20/2011 11:26 am

One of the downsides of living up here is the slow and heavily-censored internet. Unless you have a VPN, sites like Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook are all blocked. LinkedIn and Google/Gmail also have their moments.

The blocking of social networking sites began around the time of the riots in Urumqi in 2009. Those holed up in Zhongnanhai figured Twitter was a key tool leading to the revolt in Tehran that year, and it was too risky to hand that tool to the angry masses in Xinjiang. China has been proven correct on its fears: this year Facebook and Twitter have both been key communications and information tools in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Syria.

Facebook probably never intended itself to be a political tool, but it certainly makes a good one. That aside, it remains focused on growing the already largest social network in the world, and China remains a big black hole. China has more people online than any other country, yet is an area that Facebook has been unable to penetrate due to restrictions on its service here and hot local social networking sites such as Ren Ren Wang and Kaixing Wang, not to mention Sina Weibo (which is more akin to Twitter).

But it won’t give up. Mark Zuckerberg, who has a Chinese girlfriend and is learning Putonghua, toured China last year and met with executives of Baidu, China’s leading search engine. That could have been a catalyst for this deal (courtesy of Bloomberg):

Facebook Inc. has signed an agreement with Baidu Inc. to set up a social-networking website in China, reported, citing unidentified employees at the Chinese search-engine company.

The agreement followed several meetings between Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Baidu CEO Robin Li, reported on its website today. The China website won’t be integrated with Facebook’s international service, and the start date is not confirmed, according to the report.

Some analysts have already said, if this new site is not integrated with Facebook’s global network, they’ll have a hard time competing with the established players (mentioned above).

Where does that leave us? Well, considering the Jasmine Revolutions and high inflation in China, the authentic Facebook won’t be made available here anytime soon. And if you can read Chinese, chances are your Chinese friends are already on Renren or Kaixin. So for your typical expatriate who wants to use a social network, the options are learn to read Chinese or use a VPN.

And on that note, if you need VPN advice, check out our earlier article on the topic.

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