Innovation That Matters

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NFC gas sensor can detect spoiled meat

Health & Wellbeing

University researchers have developed a NFC gas sensor that can tell if meat is spoiled and send smartphone alerts.

Scientists have developed a way for smartphones to send warnings when food spoils, eliminating the need for expiry dates or relying on your sense of smell and sight. Researchers from Nanjing University, China and The University of Texas at Austin, US are using gas sensors to detect the odour of decomposing meat.

The device incorporates a sensor made of nanostructured conductive polymer into a near field communication (NFC) tag. Nanostructured conductive polymers are able to detect the compound that releases the bad scent of spoiled meat – biogenic amines. To test the effectiveness of the NFC sensor tags, researchers left the meat out in 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To the human nose, this level of biogenic amines would not be noticeable. However, the sensors were able to successfully detect the spoiled meat as well as send wireless alerts to a smartphone.

In addition to being a useful tool for individuals, the researchers predict the device will be useful for food facilities. The device can help prevent foodborne illnesses and end uncertainty over whether to dispose of food. Researchers hope to release a commercial version in the future and plan to package it with raw meat. Doing so would allow consumers and suppliers to identify spoiled meat by holding their phones within range.

Here at Springwise, we have published many innovations that use NFC technology. For example, a wearable payment device from Australia uses NFC to make payments. The device fits onto any watch, piece of jewellery or fitness tracker. Another example is NFC enabled packaging from Germany that users can scan for beauty tutorials and tips. What other portable and wireless solutions can NFC offer?




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