Hyperspectral Imaging To Curve Food Waste, Improve Quality

ImpactVision is re-purposing NASA technology for more accurate assessment of food quality, which could bear implications for reducing waste.

NASA currently uses Hyperspectral sensors to measure chemical information on Earth including geological features, and aquatic ecosystems. However, a recent increase in affordability has put the technology within reach of commercial sectors.

ImpactVisions cofounder Abi Ramanan spoke to CNBC at the World Economic Forum this tuesday, explaining the technology and exactly what it’s capable of.
Operation of hyperspectral technology is deceptively simple – take some snapshots and allow the automated program to assess qualities like ripeness and degree of contamination.

“What this technology, and other technologies, allows you to do is be a lot more predictive: How should this product be sorted, ripened, distributed best in accordance with its chemical composition or its shelf life?” Ramanan told CNBC’s Akiko Fujita and Martin Soong.

By detecting subtle variations in light emission the intelligent software is able to sniff out important data points without physical intervention. Inevitably speeding up the distribution of high-quality food products. It’s a win win for companies and consumers. When food expires on the shelf the cost is inherited by producers who then charge consumers a higher price. By reducing the chance of selling expired products, everybody can save money and buy higher quality food.

“It really infuses the supply chain with digital technology so you can make better decisions earlier on and reduce waste, but also reduce product recalls, prevent rejections, and deliver a better quality product to consumers,” she continued.

Combine this with cold plasma treatment of perishables to increase lifespan and you have a potentially world changing system.

“We have to feed a population of 10 billion in the near future and we have to do that with less resources,” Ramanan noted. “We need to decrease the amount of land, energy and water that is being put into the food system (and) really improve the way that food is distributed through the supply chain.”


CNBC: Technology used by NASA could end food shortages and save trillions of dollars

Image credit: Fraunhofer IPMS

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