New paper-based sensors could enable labels to change color to indicate when food goes bad.
“It’s not getting any younger.”
In my house, that’s code for either eating or trashing something in the refrigerator that’s flirting with its “best-by” date — or just no longer looks as appetizing as it once did.
Sensors are the core of the Internet of Things
But what if Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology could tell you whether that lasagna was still safe for dinner or whether it’s time to toss the hair-coloring product slowly drying out in the back of your medicine cabinet? That promise is what’s on the menu at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington, D.C., this week. So, what does the world’s largest scientific society, with more than 157,000 members, have to do with IoT?
More than just spoiled leftovers
That means the technology could also be used to identify new medicinal plants without having to bring samples back to the lab, or to authenticate the provenance of expensive wines and teas.
According to Andreescu, the key is nanostructures that “catch and bind” with the compounds being tested for — in this case, the reactive oxygen species that products accumulate as they age and eventually spoil — changing color to indicate the results. Green for good to eat, for example, or red for send it to the dumpster.