Handheld device knows when your high-end seafood dish is a little fishy

As much as we love the idea of fish police, stoically patrolling high-end restaurants, scanning plates of food and shouting "That is NOT real fugu, good sir," that's (sadly) not how this device works. Yes, this handheld machine called QuadPyre made by University of South Florida researchers can detect if someone's trying to pass off inferior fish as their more expensive counterparts. But at the moment, it can only detect if shady sellers are trying to pass off riffraff as grouper fish. See, local fishermen are apparently not capable of keeping up with grouper demand in the country, so the US has been importing metric tons from abroad.

It's a bit complicated determining which fish are groupers and which aren't, since there are 64 species under the umbrella term, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. Still, the machine can purify and identify a specimen's RNA within 45 minutes (even if the sample's already cooked), whereas older equipment take hours or even days to do so. QuadPyre will soon be commercialized and sold for $1,995 per unit -- not cheap, but hey, any self-appointed fish police will have time to save up until a second version, capable of ID-ing more species, comes along.