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Smart labels: what they are for

Smart labels: what they are for


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Smart labels for better living. It is not just a matter of convenience, indeed, for those interested in combating food waste, they are an important tool for reducing junk food. They aren't just for tech-savvy people, not even just for those who are obsessed with health. Smart labels can enter everyone's daily life without disturbing any balance, on the contrary, making life easier and healthier.

Smart labels or smart labels

We begin to describe the smart labels in order to show even the most skeptical that it is a beautiful invention. Beautiful in the sense of useful. Smart labels are those for example that they change color if the product is left out of the fridge when it should be inside. Or that they notify us in this way, when the food has expired.

The concept is declinable and implementable day by day, but it is based on the fact that labels must become an effective tool for fight against food waste. There are, although not so far present in Italy, interesting solutions also developed for home use, for example to remind us when we have opened a package.

Thanks to smart labels a banal packaging created to protect food becomes a means to protect our health, to avoid waste and also to save money. Smart labels help us do smart shopping over time.

Smart labels: what they are for

We have already mentioned that these “smart” labels avoid food waste, a mission that is particularly important to us. In practice, in the fridge of each of us, each pack with these special labels guides and informs us. And he also "corrects" us, helping us to better preserve a product, avoiding distractions.

If a certain food has to stay at 4 ° C and has instead been exposed to higher temperatures for a long time, smart labels tell us and we are so aware that it could be a "dangerous" food. The label designed for this type of lens is called "chrome-thermal" and among the subjects who have developed a version there is also the Materials Science Department of the Milano-Bicocca University, in collaboration with the Imperial College.

Smart labels: examples

This kind of smart labels, said thermal chrome, consist of a porous silica film on which a particular pigment is applied, purposely made to be colorless at 4 ° C. If the temperature remains this, the label does not give signals, but if instead higher temperatures are passed, the smart labels thus made, applied on yogurt, cheese, milk or fruit juice, they tell us by changing color, that the product has not been properly preserved.

It's not over: the different shades of color that the pigment assumes with the temperature variation, they can also specify whether the increase was considerable or slight and if the product was at a temperature other than that prescribed for hours and hours or for less than half an hour. Which makes the difference for us who want to ingest it without feeling sick.

They also exist smart labels that inform us about the time passed since a certain package was opened. You read about them on Advanced Optical Materials learning that they are made of a plastic film that this time changes color when the package is opened and as time passes the nuances change.

The material with which it is made is "activated" with the presence of carbon dioxide, upon opening the package, and changes color as the hours and days pass. Doing so helps us understand by when we should or can consume a certain food left open before throwing it away. Too busy or too late.

I'm also studying smart labels aimed at unmasking any attempts to tamper with the expiration date. By changing color according to the level of ammonia that a certain food inevitably develops as it ages, the labels thus studied can signal when the expiration date has passed, making the barcode unreadable. So the product, unsaleable.

Smart labels: how to read them

It is certainly not trivial, apparently, to read and be able to use them easily Smart labels but we keep in mind that it is only the novelty effect. Like any new tool introduced into the daily routine, these too smart labels can seem enigmatic and cumbersome to us, but it will be up to those who invent and make them, to ensure that the user does not have to study a manual specifically for understand how to use them.

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