Assessing ripeness and spoilage with a mobile phone could be the future in fighting food waste

GoMicro Flinders University

Putting the tools to assess food spoilage in the palm of growers’ hands could be pivotal to solving the fresh produce industry’s food waste problem.

That was the contention of Sivam Krish, founder and chief executive of GoMicro, when he shared the company’s progress at the 400M Agrifood Innovation Forum in Toowoomba, Queensland.

GoMicro has developed phone attachable magnifier designed for accurately assessing the level of ripeness or spoilage of fresh foods when combined with its Spotcheck aapp.

Krish said GoMicro’s innovation, could provide greater accuracy through a superior imaging system and AI app and save agricultural industries vast sums of money.

“We can assess the ripeness or spoilage of fruits and vegetables with a 86-to-99 per cent accuracy, measured in days,” said Krish.

“It’s a very topical issue for the food industry to address, with an estimated 30 of our food being spoiled.

“We can see that there are some very strong commercial opportunities for a cheap and portable device to have the power to make accurate food spoilage assessments.”

Krish said the GoMicro team had taken 100 images of an array of different vegetables every day to gather training images for building the AI application. Typically, AI applications require thousands of images for training and are unable to achieve high accuracies in field conditions.

It’s the latest important step for GoMicro, a microscopy 4.0 company based at Flinders University’s New Venture Institute, which also has an ongoing relationship with Bayer Crop Sciences after winning the Bayer Grants4Ag competition.

GoMicro’s patent-pending technology creates lab-quality imaging conditions that increase the accuracy of detection, reducing the number of images needed for training purposes.

GoMicro has placed its initial focus on agriculture to help farmers and agronomists detect pests, leaf disease and assess food quality accurately.

“Any farmer with a phone will have the diagnostic capability of an agronomist – through building a more accurate AI engine into the Spotcheck microscope attached to a phone,” said Krish.

“It’s an important breakthrough, because microscopic information can provide a vast array of information across a wide range of agricultural issues. More importantly we will be making it possible for anyone to build and deploy accurate AI applications.”