Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Oh patents! Mimica Touch

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann 

Brought to you by a brilliant young woman inventor, recipient of a James Dyson scholarship to Brunel University in UK, Mimica Touch (former Bump Mark) is a bio-reactive food label and one that many would hope to see and “feel’ on all packaging for perishables at the supermarket.

Mimica Touch, is disclosed in a family of three patents: 
  • US2017082589 (A1) ― 2017-03-23 - Bio-Reactive Food Expiry Label 
  • EP3151681 (A1) ― 2017-04-12 - Bio-reactive food expiry label
  • WO2015185889 (A1) ― 2015-12-10- Bio-reactive food expiry label 

Mimica Touch is an organic label that includes a layer of hydrocolloid protein-based mammalian gelatine (e.g; agar-agar, carrageen, pectin, konjac, of equivalent) designed to emulate the decay process of protein-based foodstuffs such as meat or fish. Thus, when the label is fresh, the gelatine is produced and set as a solid layer that conceals a sheet layer of plastic bumps. However, when the gelatin starts to break down and to decompose, it changes phases and becomes liquid, As a result, you can feel the bumps on the layer beneath, which is assumed to indicate spoilage of the foodstuff

The clever idea driving this invention assumes that what is happening to the hydrocolloid protein-based gelatine mirrors what is happening to the protein-based perishables that are packaged, This way of assessing spoilage is also considered far more reliable, since the conditions of packaging may cause spoilage of foodstuff before the printed estimated expiration date, while the security margins of the expiration date estimates might cause food to be trashed earlier than required.  Likewise, ambient conditions of storage may affect freshness.

While there is a prior art for the assessment of foodstuff freshness, Mimica Touch also has the distinctive and intended advantage of providing universally accessible tactile food spoilage information, which both non-sighted and sighted people can easily decode and understand. Indeed, Mimica Touch invokes feeling for the freshness of perishables, rather than reading printed information.

Mimica Touch is otherwise inexpensive and easily produced. It is in the shape of a small triangle appearing on one of the corners of the packaging. The young inventor, Solveiga Pakstaite, and her team at Design by Sol, is currently exploring ways of marketing her tactile invention.

Below, the abstract is included for US2017082589 titled Bio-reactive food expiry label, as well as two of the semiotic patent figure drawings respectively showing the water-swollen fresh label (Fig. 2) and the wavy watery decomposed label which no longer conceals the bumpy plastic sheet, and consequently, indicates spoilage.  

A food expiry label includes a layer of material (such as a water-swollen mammalian gelatine) that undergoes a phase transition (such as from solid to liquid) upon exposure to bacteria or fungi that result in food spoilage. The label may incorporate a tactile surface that the user can feel underneath the layer of gelatine once the gelatine has changed from solid to liquid. Thus a user detects when a foodstuff is likely to have spoiled or been on the shelf for a predetermined period simply by feeling the label. [Abstract US2017082589] 

Mimica Touch (former Bump Mark)

No comments: