Researchers revealed on Thursday the newest robot sensor that could help monitor a fruit’s temperature while the cargo is in transit.
This small machine resembles the look of an actual fruit and is packed together with the other produce in a cargo.
Designs come in the form of bananas, apples, oranges, and mangoes. The gadgets send alerts to cargo companies if there are any problems with the process of cooling the fruits. Actual monitoring makes it easy for the cargo firms to take actions should problems arise during the transportation of goods.
The researchers also said that this technology would also result in fresher produce for the public consumption.
This fruit robot is still in its trial phase.
It is the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology that is working on the research project of the new technology.
Not all cargo trucks make it cautiously to their destinations.
Even though companies inspect the fruits that are to be delivered, there would still be some damaged fruits along the trip and, upon reaching their destination, the fruits have already perished.
Fruits need to be stored at the correct temperatures so as not to perish. Food agencies should take this into consideration before ordering big loads of produce to stack in container vans.
Businesses fear that the delivered fruits may be overripe or rotten when sold to customers.
There would be times when the cargo trucks are simply left outside stopovers. A possible outage of power can also happen during the travel.
As told to BBC News, Thijs Defraeye, the project leader, said that all of these could affect the quality of produce that reaches the consumers.
Exporters of the produce always have a standard for checking the freshness of their goods, but according to this team of researchers, the robot sensor is far more accurate about temperature reports because it has the capacity to stimulate the characteristic of the different kinds of fruits.
For the team of researchers to achieve this project, they conducted an extensive research, took X-rays of the actual fruits, and remodeled them according to their texture and shape.
Afterward, they determined the actual and exact characteristic of the flesh of each fruit. These simulated versions of the fruits are then made in the laboratory by using mixtures of polystyrene, water and some carbohydrates.
The mixtures from the laboratory are then poured and made into the mold of a fruit sensor that is patterned from a copy produced by the 3D printer.
Should anything go wrong, the suppliers may access the date of the produce temperature starting from the beginning of the journey and investigate the actual reason of produce decay.
The researchers are hoping that this fruit sensor project would help big produce companies with their food safety standards. It will also help them save some time and cost on the logistics.
Field tests of the robot sensors are already being conducted and the researchers themselves are looking forward to partnering with commercial investors for this technology.