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IoT's Future for Telling You Food Spoiled - WhyFly

Posted by Katie Sales on Aug 23, 2017 1:43:12 PM

IoT is about to tell you when your food is spoiled

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New paper-based sensors could enable labels to change color to indicate when food goes bad.

Sensors are the core of the Internet of Things

What if Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology could tell you whether lasagna was still safe for dinner? Or if it's time to toss the hair-coloring product slowly drying out in the back of your medicine cabinet? That promise is what’s on the menu at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington, D.C.

Sensor technology is at the core of IoT, and the researchers aligned with the 140-year-old organization have developed a cheap, portable, paper-based sensor. This sensor could potentially do a lot more than telling users how old the food is. The idea is that the sensors could actually interact with the substance to tell whether or not it’s spoiled.

More than just spoiled leftovers

That means the technology could also be used to identify new medicinal plants without having to bring samples back to the lab or to authenticate the provenance of expensive wines and teas.

In this case, the reactive oxygen species that products accumulate as they age and eventually spoil — changing color to indicate the results. Green for good to eat, for example, or red for sending it to the dumpster.

Even better, because all the reagents needed are incorporated into the paper, “users don't need to add anything other than the sample being tested.” That means the sensors could be added to food or cosmetic labels, offering real-time information on the condition of their contents. Users wouldn't have to perform special tests.

Super cheap, disposable sensors could be big business

That lasagna may not be getting any younger, but deciding whether to keep or toss it may no longer be a guessing game. That could help take a bite out of the $640 worth of food the average American family throws out each year, according to the American Chemistry Council. Those leftovers add up to big dollars — an estimated $165 billion worth of food Americans waste every year.

This kind of super-cheap, disposable sensors can only extend the reach of the IoT. It’s hardly a stretch to see these sensors being able to communicate with smart appliances. They can track how well they’re doing preserving food, notifying consumers when stuff needs to be thrown out, and even figuring out when staples need to be replaced.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a large part of the world and will continue to be very important in our future. With the internet always comes that feeling of needing to be connected. WhyFly's mission to its customers is to provide them that connection with its 100Mbps upload and download speeds, and without the contract. The feeling of being connected to the internet without being attached to a contract is what creates the simplicity our service. In a world where strings are always attached, refresh and reboot with WhyFly AWESOME internet!

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