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Most of us assume that our supermarkets will never sell us food that has gone bad, and for the most part this seems to be true. While some fruits, vegetables, and meats might not be as fresh as we would like if we were to go to the source like a butchers or farmer’s market, they are in relatively good condition.

However once in a while we do get a bad piece of fruit or meat, but thanks to the folks at MIT, hopefully purchasing food that has gone bad will be a thing of the past. MIT chemists have come up with a new way that allows the detection of hazardous gases and environmental pollutants wirelessly, thanks to the modification of an NFC chip that can be read by most, if not all, smartphones.

What makes these sensors particularly attractive is that they are cheap. According to Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT, “The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. There’s no wiring involved. There’s no power. You can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this.”

Dubbed CARDs, these tags will allow users to detect specific gases emitted which can be used to detect explosive devices or tell if food has gone bad and can be used during warehouse inspections. However the fact that it can only detect one specific gas type makes its use limited, at least for now, but like Swager said, the possibilities are there. In the meantime you can check out the video above to see CARDs in action.

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