Who have never felt dumb for buying that gorgeous fruit and find that it wasn’t sweet or eating a delicious fish cake that is far from being codfish? Here are the innovations for you not to feel dumb.
In the United States, 30% of fish marketed in the country contains wrong information on the label. In Brazil, several fish were sold as codfish, but they were not. It is mandatory to inform the species of fish, hiding this information is a fraud. With that in mind, researchers at the University of South Florida have developed the QuadPyre, a portable device that detects the species of fish that are on your plate. The device makes the RNA sequence analysis of the sample and, for now, it only shows if it’s grouper (the most consumed fish in Florida) or not. The results come out in 40 minutes and the analysis requires an intermediate step for the sample to react, which is time consuming and complicated, but it’s even more simple, fast and affordable than sending it to a laboratory and genetic testing completely.
Chemists at MIT created sensors that detect gases. It requires no electricity, little maintenance, is affordable and it communicates with smartphones and computers. Sensors were made from modified RFID tags by adding nano carbon tubes programmed to detect any substance. When the substance is present in the sample, the electric current of the sensor changes. It is expected that the sensors will be used to detect changes in food. It is possible to detect gases through boxes or even walls, if the foods are stocked, preventing people from exposure to potentially contaminated samples.
In Tel Aviv the startup Consumer Physics launched a portable device capable of deciphering the composition of various products such as medicines, food and plants and provide the results in a few seconds. This molecular sensor goes by the name of Scio. Although it seems science fiction, the technique behind Scio is based on near-infrared spectrometry, widely used in laboratories around the world. Infrared light has energy to excite the sample molecules making them vibrate and reflect in an unique way. The reflected light passes through the spectrometer that separates the various wavelengths and for this analysis it is possible to determine the composition of the material in question.
Scio can analyze a wide range of products, except metals, so the market potential is huge. With it you can check if the apple in the market is sweet, how many calories it has in its juice and even if the bar sold you a drink in place of another. The major innovation in this case is the use of technology, expensive and restricted to laboratories, now accessible to the population. And for you not to feel dumb again. Anyway, shouldn’t this be the goal of science?