Originally published by Modern Farmer
April 18th, 2017
by Andrew Amelinckx

Whether it’s apples from New Zealand or bananas from Ecuador, produce often travels great distances to get to the consumer and loss due to spoilage or other problems along the supply chain is costly and wasteful. But Swiss scientists have come up with a new sensor that could help solve this issue.

The temperature sensing device created by Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology looks and acts like a piece of fruit, down to its shape, size, surface texture, color, and internal composition. The self-powered wireless electronic sensor is surrounded by a solid shell made of polystyrene (a type of plastic), water, and carbohydrates that simulate the fruit’s flesh, according to Thijs Defraeye, a scientist at Empa who is leading the project. Traditional sensors used for this application usually only measure the air temperature in the freight container. To accurately gauge how produce is holding up, though,…