TURKEY – A recent study has highlighted a groundbreaking sensor that has the potential to revolutionize food monitoring.

Developed by researchers at Kadir Has University and Koç University, the miniature wireless device promises to be user-friendly, cost-effective, and capable of providing real-time measurements directly on food, eliminating the need for lab-based analysis.

The compact sensor, measuring just 2 x 2 cm, boasts impressive features such as being battery-free and compatible with mobile phones.

It utilizes a capacitive measurement method and incorporates near-field communication (NFC) technology, enabling power-free and wireless communication—a significant advancement in the field.

Unlike existing solutions that primarily rely on visual color changes in food, the new device addresses major limitations encountered by resistive devices. Moisture sensitivity and inaccuracies resulting from distance are effectively eliminated, offering more reliable and precise measurements.

Advantages for industry and consumers

The research team, led by Dr Emin İstif and Assistant Professor Levent Beker, emphasizes the potential benefits of widespread implementation.

Companies stand to reduce costs by utilizing the device for continuous monitoring of product freshness on store shelves.

Moreover, consumers will have the ability to assess the freshness of food items before purchasing or consuming them at home, ensuring quality and minimizing waste.

One of the most promising aspects of the sensor technology is its compatibility with mobile phones, enabling on-demand spoilage analysis. By simply using their smartphones, users can access real-time information about the freshness of a product, aiding in the prevention of food waste and food-borne illnesses.

To demonstrate a real-life application, the wireless sensor was embedded into packaged chicken and beef.

Consecutive readings from meat samples using the sensor under various storage conditions enabled the monitoring of spoilage.

While samples stored at room temperature showed an almost 700% change in sensor response on the third day, those stored in the freezer resulted in an insignificant change in sensor output.

As the sensor technology progresses and becomes widely available, it has the potential to transform the food industry’s approach to monitoring and quality control.

The ability to assess freshness in real-time will enhance food safety practices, reduce waste, and improve consumer experiences.

The successful development of this sensor marks a significant milestone, but further research and refinement are needed before its commercialization.

As scientists continue to explore the possibilities of this innovative technology, its widespread adoption could shape a more sustainable and efficient food system.

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