Smart ink

They’re handy: stickers that tell us whether food is still edible or not. The Eindhoven University of Technology is working on this idea, in cooperation with the company FreshStrips, which is developing a special ink for this purpose. The ink works a bit like an LCD screen, explains Koen Nickmans from FreshStrips. After being printed the ink is red. If you press on the ink, it becomes green.

Does the sticker remain green after being pressed? Then all is well. If the ink turns red, then the product has been stored in a (too) warm environment.

The ink will want to automatically turn red again, but that won’t happen at a low temperature. But if the label has been exposed to higher temperatures, then the ink will become red again. A sticker that doesn’t stay green after having been pressed is therefore a bad sign when it comes to food that should have remained cold. The stickers will initially be used in the wholesale sector, Nickmans says. But there are plans to test it in the first supermarkets as well.

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