Wireless Technology Aims to Reduce Food Waste by Enhancing Fruit Quality Assessment

by Ella

Researchers from Princeton University and Microsoft Research have unveiled a novel wireless technology capable of accurately assessing the ripeness of fruit. This high-frequency wireless tool empowers suppliers to sort fruit based on detailed ripeness measurements, potentially reducing food waste in the distribution process.

Current methods for determining fruit ripeness are often unreliable or too time-consuming, leading to inefficiencies in food distribution. The new technology, presented at the 2023 ACM MobiCom conference, seeks to address these challenges by offering a more precise and efficient solution.


Yasaman Ghasempour, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Princeton, emphasized the lack of a systematic way to assess fruit and vegetable ripeness, which often relies on visual inspection or physical contact. These traditional methods result in inaccurate estimations of fruit quality.


The innovative wireless signals used in this technology can penetrate the fruit’s surface, providing richer information about its quality than traditional methods. By leveraging sub-terahertz signals, the researchers can measure sugar and dry matter content beneath the fruit’s skin, offering a more detailed assessment.


Food waste is a pressing global issue, with approximately one-third of all food produced in the United States and half of all fruits and vegetables worldwide going to waste. Reducing food waste not only addresses food security and nutrition concerns but also contributes to environmental sustainability by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.


The sub-terahertz signals used in this technology are part of next-generation wireless systems like the upcoming 6G standards, which will accommodate high-frequency bands, including terahertz and sub-terahertz signals. This development showcases the potential of wireless technology in addressing pressing global challenges, such as food waste.

The researchers used persimmons, avocados, and apples in their experiments and successfully addressed challenges related to fruit structure and skin characteristics. They believe this technology can be extended to other types of foods, such as meats and beverages, offering new possibilities for food safety monitoring and consumer choice.

Ultimately, this wireless technology aims to optimize fruit distribution by enabling accurate ripeness assessment, potentially reducing food waste on a significant scale.

The research, titled “AgriTera: Accurate Non-Invasive Fruit Ripeness Sensing via Sub-Terahertz Wireless Signals,” received support from the National Science Foundation and Microsoft Research. The study’s authors include Yasaman Ghasempour, Atsutse Kludze, and Subhajit Karmakar from Princeton University, as well as Sayed Saad Afzal, formerly with Microsoft and now affiliated with MIT.

The potential applications of this technology extend beyond fruit, promising advancements in food quality assessment and waste reduction across various food categories.



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