3D Printed Smart Bottles Will Help Consumers Notice Expired Food

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Shopkeepers have started a new trend of selling expired milk or mixing milk with flour to increase the quantity. I have fallen victim of many peculiar behaviors practiced by retailers and it’s not fair at all. The 3D-printed smart bottles will definitely put an end to this.

UC Berkeley engineers, in collaboration with colleagues at Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University, are expanding the already impressive portfolio of 3D printing technology to include electrical components, such as resistors, inductors, capacitors and integrated wireless electrical sensing systems. They have put the new technology to the test by printing a wireless smart bottles for a milk carton that detected signs of spoilage using embedded sensors.

3D printed products are currently making headlines and scientists are exploring the new technology to advance their research. A month a go we featured an article where scientists were able to print human skin using 3D printers. Other advances include prosthetics, medical implants, toys, vehicle parts, building materials and even food.

“Our paper describes the first demonstration of 3D printing for working basic electrical components, as well as a working wireless sensor,” said senior author Liwei Lin, a professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center. “One day, people may simply download 3D-printing files from the Internet with customized shapes and colors and print out useful devices at home.”

Polymers are attractive materials in the world of 3D printing because their flexibility allows them to be formed into a variety of shapes. However, such materials are poor conductors of electricity, and thus bad candidates for electronic devices. To get around this, the researchers started off by building a system using polymers and wax. They would then remove the wax, leaving hollow tubes into which liquid metal – in their experiments they used silver – was injected and then cured. Reports iflscience.

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Also read: 3D printed toothbrush to clean teeth in six seconds

The shape and design of the metal determined the function of different electrical components. For instance, thin wires acted as resistors, and flat plates were made into capacitors. The researchers integrated the electronic components into a plastic milk carton cap to monitor signs of spoilage. The “smart cap” was fitted with a capacitor and an inductor to form a resonant circuit. A quick flip of the carton allowed a bit of milk to get trapped in the cap’s capacitor gap, and the entire carton was then left unopened at room temperature.

“This 3D-printing technology could eventually make electronic circuits cheap enough to be added to packaging to provide food safety alerts for consumers,” said Lin. “You could imagine a scenario where you can use your cellphone to check the freshness of food while it’s still on the store shelves.”

I can’t wait to see this kind of technology adopted in the country by creameries or any other manufacturing company because I am tired of drinking expired milk.


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