Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ETech: High-Tech Chocolate

I'm in "High-Tech Chocolate: Reinventing the Path from Pod to Plate" with Timothy Childs and Maribeth Back who are talking about what happens when high-tech chocolate company meets high-tech research lab.



Timothy Childs talking about High-tech Chocolate

THCO is the only chocolate maker in San Francisco, with a killer location between Pier 39 and the Ferry Building. They're an innovation machine, with beta chocolate, try the chocolate before it's ready...


The flavour wheel

...they've also come up with the flavour lab, not flavouring the chocolate, but coaxing flavour out of the raw beans.

They're also encouraging the farmers to cook beans better, and dry them properly, and letting them charge THCO more for it. But they get better beans and better chocolate as a result. They've investigating in remote sensor networks and they're able to monitor conditions in Perudirectly, they know how the beans are fermenting, and they're starting to build models based on this data and the taste of the resulting chocolate.


The THCO iPhone remote managment app

Timothy is demo'ing the iPhone application developed for them by FX PAL which allows them to monitor and control the factory in real time from their phones. Interesting stuff, and oddly the UI they've developed for the application mirrors some of the interface stuff I've been doing for controlling autonomous telescopes networks from the iPhone for the eSTAR Project.

Similar control problems, similar solutions perhaps? In any case, we just remotely controlled a chocolate laboratory from an iPhone. That's pretty cool, now it's time for more chocolate...

...and we're done.