Innovation That Matters

The new system uses laser-induced plasma (LIP) | Photo source Shibaura Institute of Technology

Contactless ripeness system improves harvests and reduces damage to soft fruits

Food & Drink

The laser-based system helps farmers to more accurately gauge the firmness of produce and reduces waste

Spotted: Scientists at Japan’s Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) have developed a contactless means of assessing the ripeness of soft fruits. Rather than requiring produce to be squeezed at every step in the distribution process, the new system uses laser-induced plasma (LIP). A high-intensity laser beam charges a small volume of particles that swiftly disperse, sending out measurable shock waves.

A vibrometer measures the waves, allowing the system to calculate the firmness and by association, the ripeness of the fruit. Uneven surfaces, as well as unseen decay, affect the accuracy of the readings of the vibrations, and different fruits produce different vibration types. The team’s development plans include refining the assessment tools and helping to make the new system more accessible and widely used.

Reducing food wastage is such a pressing issue in so many ways and for so many communities, that a range of innovations has been sprouting. A few of these spotted by Springwise include egg waste being turned into an edible fruit preservative and replica fruits containing embedded freshness sensors, for use in long-distance transport.

Written By: Keely Khoury

Explore more: Food & Drink Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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