New Packets Could Use Nano-Tech To Tell You When Your Food Is About To Go Off

There is nothing more annoying than making the perfect cup of tea, only to take a mouthful and discover your milk has spoiled.

And as people who seem unable to sufficiently organise a fridge to stop this happening on a fairly regular basis, we could really do with some assistance.

Now plans for nanotechnology to be integrated into food packaging could help stop this, and help with other first world problems, such as our wine being the wrong temperature to drink.

The groundbreaking tech, from researchers at Trinity College Dublin, integrates 2D printing with new nano-materials, such as graphene, phosphorene and molybdenite to create nanosheets.

These printed sheets could then have electrical functionality such as a countdown clock for your food’s use-by date that then sends a text message to your phone to remind you to go to the shop.

Professor Jonathan Coleman said: “In the future, printed devices will be incorporated into even the most mundane objects such as labels, posters and packaging.”

The team also suggest it could be used for a more secure generation of banknotes, or e-passports. 

“Printed electronic circuitry (constructed from the devices we have created) will allow consumer products to gather, process, display and transmit information,” said Coleman.

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Printable electronics have developed over the last thirty years mainly based on printable carbon-based molecules.

While these molecules can be turned into printable inks, such materials are unstable and have well-known limitations because they cannot necessarily conduct, or insulate well enough for circuits.

Not only will this new technology stop us from ruining a brew, but could be used to address the level of food waste in the UK. 

Almost 500 million pints of milk are wasted each year, according to food waste reduction charity Wrap, with 20% of those based on labelling on the packet.

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