INVENTION BY FLORIDA STUDENTS OFFERS “FRESH” APPROACH
According to an article in the University of Florida News, a team of engineering students has designed and built a prototype of a new sensor that will assist grocers, florists, and pharmacists in determining the length of time before a product spoils or exceeds its expiration date.
The sensor can also wirelessly transmit and record information to retailers relating to where glitches occur during the product shipping process. Disposable tags or labels that are currently in use don’t say when spoilage occurred, nor give any indication how soon the “fresh” goods will spoil. When these instances occur, it is hard to determine who is responsible for the spoiled product, and can create problems when stores stock merchandise that appears fine but spoils soon after. Add to this the varying temperatures and spoilage rates, tags that must be tailored to individual products, and it equals higher costs and increased probability of errors.
The engineering student team is currently working with University of Florida business and law students to patent and market the invention as part of the university’s Integrated Technology Ventures program. The patent application has been filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.