San Francisco, CA-
By Delimarket.TV Staff
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), Universitá di Catania (Italy), CEA-Liten (France) and STMicroelectronics have invented a budget-friendly circuit that monitors food freshness.
The technology was introduced at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco and has the potential to drastically reduce waste. Consumers and businesses in developed countries throw away about 220 pounds of food per person typically because the ‘best before’ date has passed, according to Science Daily.
Much of this waste results from the difficulty in estimating how long food will remain unspoiled. To minimize the risk of selling adulterated food to consumers, producers show a relatively short shelf life on their packaging.
At a cost of less than one euro-cent, the electronic sensor circuit monitors the acidity level in packaged foods. The circuit could be read with a scanner or mobile phone to determine the freshness of a steak or show whether frozen food was defrosted.
Researcher Eugenio Cantatore of Eindhoven University of Technology said, "In principle that's all already possible, using standard silicon ICs. The only problem is they're too expensive. They easily cost ten cents. And that cost is too much for a one euro bag of crisps. We're now developing electronic devices that are made from plastic rather than silicon. The advantage is you can easily include these plastic sensors in plastic packaging."
The plastic semiconductor can be printed on all kinds of flexible surfaces, which makes it cheaper to use.