Electronic nose sniffs out fresh fruit

June 29, 1999

Engineers at the University of Warwick have devised an "Electronic Nose" that will help both the fruit industry, and ordinary shoppers, solve that perennial problem of how to consistently determine the ripeness of fruit. Most of the traditional methods that have been used to assess fruit ripeness have required the testing to destruction of a piece of fruit. However University of Warwick Researchers Professor Julian Gardner and Dr Evor Hines, (along with Spanish researcher Dr Eduardo Llobet) have put together the sensors of an electronic nose coupled to a "Fuzzy ARTMAP" type neural network to produce a device that calculate the exact ripeness of the fruit by its smell. Once the electronic nose has been 'trained' on a particular fruit it does not require a skilled operator and can obtain the results in a few seconds with over 92% accuracy.

Dr Hines said:-

"Our work in this area has concentrated on the ripeness of bananas and apples but the technology can easily be applied to most other fruits. Previously we have used it to test the quality of coffee, beer and wine"

University of Warwick

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