Handy Device Linked with Smartphone App Can Detect the Ripeness and Quality of Fruits and Vegetables

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Completely different from bulky and expensive gadgets that are used today to verify drug and food quality, the novel gadget is all about its weight and size that is equal to a collectible matchbox car. It utilizes extremely less amount of power and is priced at a cost that is even less than $250. All this has been disclosed by the inventors of MIT.

It is an excellent device for the farmers who could use this gadget along with their smartphones in the field to identify the adequate harvesting time for fruits like apples. Also, it could be used to identify storage facilities to distinguish ripe vegetable and fruits from unripe fruits and to detect their quality. It is also of great benefit to consumers who could use it to avoid experiencing the horriblenessof tart or rotten fruit.

The food organization today utilizes one of the two methods to experiment the ripeness of apples. One way to identify the firmness is utilizing scelrometres or penetrometres. Both gadgets depend on measuring the force needed to incorporate a probe into the fruit. The other experiment in use today is known as Brix that measures the content of sugar of the fruit juice with theuse of light refraction. Both such methods are destructive, confirms MIT Media Lab scientist Anshuman Das.

Das and his team transformed to optical spectroscopy instead. “We utilized light to verify the sample, creating the process non-destructive and rapid,” he says.

The group introduced a spectrometer chip and sealed packed it with an ultraviolet LED, Bluetooth module and optical filters for wireless data communication, which is an Arduinomicrocontroller for digital to analog conversion, and also a rechargeable lithium-ion battery into a tiny 3D printed case.

For verifying the ripeness, they introduced UV light on fruit. The spectrometer estimates the emission of fluorescent of the UV-stimulated cholorophyll in the skin of theapple. It is because chlorophyll identifies thephotosyntheticactivity, which is an excellent indicator of growth and also an indicator of color and nutrient compounds in thefruit.

“The forte of the fluorescence reduces as the fruit ripens,” says Das.

Conclusion

The gadget sends fluorescence information wirelessly to a smartphone where it can be recalled through an app created by the researchers that not only plots but even stores the data. The team tested the technique on three varieties of apples as they ripe over 11 days. The technique is expected to work in other vegetables and fruits that possess chlorophyll like oranges and bananas. Moreover, the researchers are also planning to introduce an open source platform that incorporates all information essential to replicate and further enhance the device.