AI-Powered ‘Electronic Nose’ To Sniff Out Rotten Meat


Not so long ago, scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore, developed an AI-driven robot with a “mini-brain” that can self-heal and understand pain. Here is their latest innovation, an “electronic nose” powered by Artificial intelligence that can precisely assess the freshness of meat. Let us see how does this works?

A barcode is slotted in the food packaging. This barcode changes color when it senses gasses released from the decaying meat. With a smartphone application  this barcode pattern is scanned to measure the freshness of the meat in 30 seconds. This is how the system works. The system assessed the meats’ freshness with 98.5% accuracy in a trial on commercially-packed chicken, beef, and fish samples that were left to age. The electronic nose detects rotting meat by sensing its gases just like an imitation of the mammalian nose.

Each bar of the barcode has a dye that responds to different kinds and concentrations of gasses by changing its color. As a result of these reactions, a color combination is created. This acts as a “scent fingerprint” for the condition of the meat as it decays. The algorithm’s deep complicated neural networks are trained on images, and analyze the patterns of barcodes to predict the freshness of the meat. The system predicted with 100% accuracy in detecting rotten meats and had an accuracy of 96% to 99% in recognizing fresh and less fresh meats in the experimentation.

Better than a “best before” label, this app can help out consumers in deciding whether the meat is in shape for consumption. It also helps the consumers to save money by making sure that they are not discarding the products that are still fit for use, which in turn helps the environment too. When it comes to safety, the biodegradable and non-toxic character of the barcodes can be safely applied to any parts of the food supply chain to ensure food freshness said Professor Chen Xiaodong, Co-lead author of the research. The scientists have also filed a patent for this method. NTU is collaborating with a Singapore agribusiness firm to expand its application to other types of food products.


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