The New Scanner That Tells You The Ripeness Of An Avocado

You cut into the scaly green shell of an avocado all set to make some lovely avocado toast. It felt wonderfully soft to the touch when you gave it a squeeze, and you cut it open, expecting to see a soft minty green expanse. Instead, you're met with patches of brown mush, weird black hard spots, and those mysterious strings. You waited too long and the darned thing's spoiled. How many times has this happened to you? Conversely, if, you cut it the day you bought it (or, realistically, the day after or the day after that), it'll be hard and flavorless. 

So how do you know when your avocado is truly ready? Feeling the exterior will just as often give you an overripe avocado as a ripe one, as we demonstrated, and waiting is a risky game. Get out a pair of divining rods and wave them over your avocados? Worth a try, right? Well, thankfully, someone has invented a more certain method than medieval divination tools or optimistic guesswork.

An Apeel-ing time to be an avocado lover

According to Progressive Grocer, California-based tech company Apeel Sciences has done the unthinkable: determined a way to tell when an avocado is ripe. This new tech is aimed at more than just convenience. While avocado lovers are certain to be grateful for the new tool in the battle against brown or hard fruit, the goal here is actually to reduce food waste. The machine, called the RipeFinder, works by using a high-powered beam of light to penetrate the avocado's dense peel. Sensors pick up the reflection to create a picture of the skin underneath and create a prediction of the fruit's firmness (per Food & Wine). 

How does it manage this? Through machine learning. The AI the machines use can compare the avocado to "tens of thousands" of avocados from all over the world that the program was exposed to during development, according to Lou Perez, co-founder and SVP of new product introduction at Apeel. The machine processes all that complex information into a surprisingly useful conclusion, such as "Your avocado is ready for a salad," or "Your avocado will be ready in about four days."

The startup plans to unveil the RipeFinder at the International Fresh Produce Association's Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, and they have big plans for the little guy — or at least for the technology it uses. They plan to introduce similar machines at various stages of the supply chain to reduce waste. If you love avocado recipes, get excited — Apeel just might be about to change the game.