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Predict Apple Ripeness with Laser Beam


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Rick Moranis played a role of a hobby scientist in the movie  “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989), Unintentionally blows up an apple with the laser in his shrink ray machine. Now, Researchers have found a decent use for lasers to measure the ripeness of apples. In a technique known as biospeckle, researchers shined a helium-neon
laser on the surface of golden apples and then analyzed how the light
was reflected i.e. shown in fig below.

The laser wasn’t very powerful—simply a few milliwatts stronger than the typical laser pointer—however it picked up tiny imperfections on the apple’s delicate skin, which brought about the laser light to bounce irregularly and outcome in a grainy appearance at small scales. 

As the fruits ripened, the “grains” in the pattern became smaller and smaller, the team reports this month in Applied Optics 
To confirm that the smallest grains occurred during peak ripeness, the
team also monitored the apple’s production of ethylene gas—a known
byproduct of the ripening process that peaks just as the fruit reaches
optimal edibleness. Once the apples were past their prime, ethylene gas
production slowed, apple activity decreased, and the size of the
reflected grains began to increase.  
Considering the fact that normal approaches of assessing ripeness both spoil the fruit or rely on subjective visible cues, the researchers recommend that the procedure could eventually support farmers thoroughly harvest their plants at gold standard times and predict how lengthy a fruit may also be stored.
Source:  Applied Optics

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