Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ice Cream Scoop-O-Meter

Temperature alarm
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Didja ever get the ice cream out of the fridge only to find it's hard as concrete? So what do you do: leave it on the counter to warm up a bit, then forget it's there, then find a container of 'soup' when you finally recall that you left it to thaw just a tiny bit! Soooo why not build something like a meat thermometer; i.e. temp gauge with a probe that could be pushed into the ice cream. Enhance temperature gauge with a preset temp alarm, so that when ice cream temp is juuuust right it beeps to remind you that scooping time is nigh.
Steamboat, Jul 17 2010

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       Why a temperature sensor? Shouldn't it be a device for measuring softness? A cylinder of standard diameter, pressed into the ice cream with a standard pressure. When it moves by a standard distance, Ding!* your snack is ready.   

       I'd bet money such devices are already used in commercial ice cream manufacture.   

       *Ding, not beep, because I think it could be 100% mechanical, without electronics.
mouseposture, Jul 17 2010
  

       For the cylinder to work, you would need to test the icecream periodically. I think the purpose of this idea is to alert you when your icecream is ready to eat.   

       It could be done mechanically, though. Use a bimetallic strip and some cleverness and a magnet, and a bell can go "ting" (or "ding", for the US market). You could even have several bells that go "ting" in different keys, as the icecream warms.   

       [+], because I think this is a good idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 17 2010
  

       Pressure would be a much better measurement than temperature because I'm pretty sure that the cream stays at freezing temp long after proper spooning time. However, all icecreams have unique viscosities so the pressure measurement will need calibration for each different brand and flavor.
daseva, Jul 17 2010
  

       Heavy cylinder (lead, say, in plastic bag). Wind-up alarm-clock. Tie one end of a string to the cylinder, the other to the latch on the alarm-clock ringer. Weight sinks gradually into ice cream, pulling string taut. Ding!   

       Calibration might require the consumption of much ice cream, but that's not a bug, it's a feature.
mouseposture, Jul 17 2010
  
      
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