In future, we may be eating food containing sensors – and it’d be safe
Imagine yourself eating an apple that contains a sensor to keep track of it’s freshness. Difficult to imagine? Well, it could become reality in future.
Giovanni Salvatore and his team (at ETH Zurich) have come up with a new research, introducing ‘an ultra-thin temperature sensor that is both bio-compatible and biodegradable.’ Worry not. The microsensors are claimed to contain no human health damaging or environment costing metals.
The team chose a scientific Journal named Advanced Functional Materials to reveal their interesting research findings. The microsensors which aim to measure temperature are inclusive of magnesium (which favors human diet), silicon dioxide and nitride (both of which are biocompatible and dissolvable in water) in a compostable polymer (made form corn and potato starch).
These sensors once fitted on a food item (for example fish), are expected to continuously monitor and ensure the needful temperature.
Keeping in mind that the sensors should be of apt size, robust, and flexible, the developers have made it 16 micrometres thick (1/6th of a human hair), a few millimetres in length, and no more than a fraction of a milligram in weight.
Coming to how will it monitor the temperature? An external micro battery is attached to the sensor – through a biodegradable zinc cable – which will act as the source of power supply. The chip also contains a microprocessor and a transmitter, for conveying the temperature data to an external computer with the help of Bluetooth (works within the range of 10 to 20 metres).
The research lead, Salvatore says Sensors would provide the link between the physical and digital world, bringing food products into the “Internet of Things”.It may take sometime for this technology to come to market as – in it’s current form – the setup is not only time consuming to build but heavy on pocket as well. The project is still being worked on, as it’s only half way through, and the team is exploring all possible way outs for make it human health – environment and market – friendly.