Expired milk, now smart labels warn you

Scientists in Ireland have created a technique that allows them to develop smart circuits that warn you when the milk is about to expire

You come home and suddenly you feel like drinking a cup of milk. You open the refrigerator and get a nasty surprise: an unpleasant smell reaches your nostrils right from the milk carton. It's late, the supermarkets are closed. And that's when the anger mounts.

Imagine if the milk itself could have contacted you and told you: "I'm about to go bad, you'd better buy another bottle". Science fiction? Not really. A team of Irish scientists is working on a revolutionary project: a smart label able to "understand" if a food is about to deteriorate and, in this case, to warn a user with a message. The experiment, still in an embryonic phase, bears the signature of the prestigious Trinity College in Dublin. The scientists hope to develop a circuit,  capable of storing so much information, which one day will replace the classic bar codes on food products.

How smart labels work for milk

At the base of the smart label there are some very thin materials and printed using the technique developed by the Irish team. The transistors, in fact, are made from 2D nanomaterials, or two-dimensional, including graphene. The system developed by researchers at Trinity College Dublin makes it possible to create circuits that are small, strong and economical. The study, also funded by the European Community, was published in the well-known scientific journal "Science". According to the authors of the project, which as mentioned is still under development, the technique can also be used to create paper displays, flexible and thin screens to be inserted in newspapers.