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Scientists at MIT have created a new device in order to monitor the ripeness of produce

Ace May 4, 2012 0
Scientists at MIT have created a new device in order to monitor the ripeness of produce

We all know how annoying it is when our produce goes bad and how bad we feel that we’ve wasted food or money..

In recent news, Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology aka MIT have created a device that has the ability to sensor and detect if your produce is ripe or not. A device like can only benefit man kind by  helping us be more efficient and accurately track our food supply. In theory this should lead to less food being thrown away because its spoiled.

The way the sensor works is by detecting the levels of ethylene, a hormone that fruits and vegetables produce as the ripen, the produce is releasing. The ethylene is a strong indication whether they are not yet ripe or not. According to Jenny Wilson of, “Tested on pears, bananas, avocados, apples, and oranges, the sensor was successful in measuring how much ethylene was secreted.”

Today, warehouses have very expensive monitoring systems that are set out to do the same thing. The only difference is this sensor is at a much lower cost and is an easy to use alternative. The large warehouses might not jump on board very quickly but the smaller facilities will definitely be using it as an alternative.
The sensor itself is made of a range of tens of thousands of carbon nanotubes that are modified with copper atoms, thus binding the  ethylene, allowing scientists to measure the amount of gas thats currently present. This is only a benefit because grocers will now know when to put items on sale before they get too ripe.

Timothy Swager, the MIT chemistry professor who led the project along with a group of students, “envisions the inexpensive sensors attached to cardboard boxes of produce and scanned with a handheld device that would reveal the contents’ ripeness.” It’s a very cool and efficient idea to invision. The produce carriers could instantly make decisions on which products can be offered at a discount and which can be thrown off the shelf.

Swager also said, “The sensor could help supermarkets avoid the roughly 10 percent of their fruits and vegetables they lose every year to spoilage.” The sensor, which only costs 25 cents, will reduce fruit spoilage during the international shipping process which is a big deal.
Timothy Swager has already started trying to patent the technology and plans on making it available for commercial use very soon. He feels that because it can be done with such cheep technology and with almost no power it will ve very powerful as companies can  enjoy the low-cost benefit of this technology. Not only is it a small price to pay but it will ultimately reduce the amount of produce that is wasted by these grocery stores.



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