Melon Meter iOS app listens for ripe watermelons

App analyzes the sound made when you thump on a watermelon to tell you which fruit is ripe and which is better left out of your grocery cart.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Melon Meter app
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Labor Day is coming up. That's traditionally the last hurrah for a big summer backyard grilling party, which also means you'll probably be pawing through the watermelons at the local grocery store.

I've thumped and thunked my fair share of watermelons. I lean in for a good listen and pretend I know what I'm supposed to hear. Now I can carry a watermelon ripeness expert along with me in the form of Melon Meter, a new app for iPhone and iPad.

Melon Meter has one purpose in life--to steer you to a ripe watermelon.

Fire up the app, place the microphone side of your device on the melon, press the red button, and knock on the melon until the app tells you to stop. It lets you know if your chosen melon is ready to eat or not.

The app uses a software algorithm that analyzes the decay rate of the sound produced by thumping on a melon. It looks for a particular decay signature associated with ripe watermelons. The app's makers note that a ready melon doesn't necessarily equate to a sweet melon.

You can pick up Melon Meter for $1.99. The app only supports medium and large melons at this time. You may get some strange stares at the grocery store, but it's better than wasting your hard-earned money on an unworthy watermelon.

I got to wondering if the app could be used to determine the ripeness of other items. As it turns out, my kitchen table isn't ready to eat, but my desk chair is ripe. Yum.