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FoodBeacon

Low cost scalable BLE Temp&Humidity sensor to prevent food spoilage and enable asset tracking of food.

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Food spoilage and wastage is a major issue in both developed and developed nations.
Countries like China,India has been plagued by tainted milk, meat and grain that have endangered people’s health in recent years. A study on global food wastage found that about 21 million tonnes of wheat go waste in India.

Despite proper storage conditions, There is a lack of a low cost scalable solution to detect spoilage of food.
FoodBeacon aims to fix it by measuring humidity and temperature of the food items from the warehouse near a farm to the food retailer. Anomalous condition of grain spoilage and meat rot are detected in advance to prevent fungal infections and incidence of food poisoning.

FoodBeacon nodes are 6$ coin sized sensors that can be deployed to either grain sacks or meat refrigerator. Temp&RH, Volatile Organic Gas and motion sensor data is sent over BLE to a mobile gateway unit, FoodBeacon adds traceability to the food supply chain thus empowering customers.

The application of IoT in food supply chains (FSCs) is one of the promising applications.
There is an imperative need for ensuring food quality across the supply chain. Achieving the objectives of food quality partly relies on physical traceability throughout the chain.

Automation of this process can reduce corruption in the process and will have a positive impact on the health of consumers. Era of IoT brings about new connections between food producers, transportation and retail companies who can work now together to ensure efficient delivery and food safety. Groups across the supply chain gain the real-time visibility and enable the automated, intelligent actions needed to ensure food is of the highest quality, delivered on time and prepared in optimal settings.

FoodBeacon aims to be extremely low cost aiming to mimic ideas relating to the IoT smart dust, Advent of low cost BLE MCU's like the Nordic nrf51822 makes it possible to get connectivity at low power in a size of a coin.
The sensors used are HDC1000/HTU21 for Relative Humidity and temperature and a MiCS5524 to detect VOC's, Ethylene and Ethanol produced during rotting of meat along with motion sensors using an ADXL345 to detect impact, vibrations and handling during transit.

Data from these sensors are sent to a gateway device which uses WiFi for the prototype but would use mobile data in final design of the device.

A smartphone app would be developed to visualize the data and alert if rot is detected, Further the app would enable inventory and delivery management.


For the implementation we are using a Lightblue Bean due to it's small size, inbuilt battery Inbuilt accelerometer and the excellent documentation.

The next step would be to move towards an nRF51822 based design to retain a very low BOM cost (6$).
The sensor data from the different broadcasting FoodBeacons would be read by a Raspberry Pi3 which would be a bridge between BLE and GSM (Using a SIM800 module in UART).

Node-Red would be our primary software architecture to manage the interfacing between the FoodBeacons and the cloud.

Using the Node-Red as a platform to gather the data we can make sure that the desired personnel can access the data's and will be notified about the state of senor values if properly programmed to send a alert,

The raspberry pi3 sends over the packets of data to the Node-Red terminal,this data is processed by the customized flowgraph and it is compared with a reference threshold value to determine the quality and condition of food with that of the ideal condition.

If the values from the sensor does not keep in range between the upper and lower threshold limits ,it triggers the e-mail event to be proceeded which will send a alert to the concerned personnel.









Microbial volatile organic compounds as indicators of fungi. Can an electronic nose detect fungi in indoor environments.pdf

Study to perform feasibility analysis on detection of Microbial infection (Fungal and Bacterial) using emission of Volatile Organic Compound(VOC)

Adobe Portable Document Format - 207.42 kB - 08/22/2016 at 03:49

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FoodBeacon.pptx

Powerpoint presentation (Alpha version)

presentation - 809.07 kB - 08/21/2016 at 12:24

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foodbeaconenclosure.stl

Simple enclosure for the Lightblue bean Will be updated to add environmental protection based design

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 1.93 MB - 08/21/2016 at 12:22

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  • 1 × Lightblue bean BLE sensor node
  • 1 × HDC1000 Relative Humidity& Temperature sensor
  • 1 × CHIP 9$ linux computer which acts as a gateway device enabling supply management
  • 1 × MiCS5524 VOC and Ethanol sensor to detect and quantify rot
  • 1 × ADXL345 Accelerometer to detect impact and vibration during transport.

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  • HDC1000 PCB's Arrived

    Manoj kumar08/21/2016 at 11:49 0 comments

    Though I planned on designing a PCB from scratch for the HDC1000 sensor, I found the amazing work Francesco Truzzi did (http://b.truzzi.me/hdc1000-temperature-and-humidity-sensor-breakout-with-arduino-library/) in designing a neat tiny breakout board for HDC1000.

    I did some size reduction and sent it to OSHpark and the PCB's arrived yesterday.


    I soon got started to solder teeny HDC1000 sensor, The BGA package turned out to be quite a challenge to our amateur SMD soldering skills.


    After a few dead boards, We got a working one!


    The reason we chose this HDC1000 chip was because of the capacitive sensing technique TI has used, Making it suitable for our rugged & Weather protected design.
    Though TI has pushed it to not recommended for new designs, We would be working on the HDC1010 variant soon!









  • Software

    Manoj kumar08/21/2016 at 11:30 0 comments

    To get a grab hold of the data and notify us in certain conditions, we planned to interface the raspberry pi3 to the NODE-RED online platform.
    By doing so we can program it to send the obtained data directly to our e-mail on pre determined conditions.

    For example if the temperature of the refrigerated meat is over a certain threshold, An alert can be triggered to notify the relevant personnel.
    Here is a actual view of the online NODE - RED platform to connect the datas from raspberry pi3 to our e-mail.

    We had to do some programming to keep our device running perfectly ,so that the email service is being triggered on apt conditions

    Below here is the actual snippet of the coding to set up a threshold value as a trigger point.

    On deploying the code we were finally able to finish the loop of getting data ,using raspberry pi3 as gateway device by communicating with the cloud to get data logs on client's devices.

    Here is our final hardware for this setup

  • Humidity&Temperature Sensing

    Manoj kumar08/21/2016 at 10:42 0 comments

    We have used a HTU21 for now with our system though we want to use a HDC1000 with our FoodBeacon due to it's capacitive sensing technique which would enable us make our sensor air sealed in it's design to increase reusablity.

    Hooking up to the lightblue bean was rather easy and we soldered a 4-pin JST connector to the blue bean.



    Thanks to the code compatablity of the lightblue bean, We were able to get the Humidity and Temperature sensing up and running.
    Here is a snapshot of the data

    We also decided to get some datapoints in a container in the fridge,


    (Internet of Chillies)

  • Implementation

    Manoj kumar08/21/2016 at 09:45 0 comments

    For the implementation of the project we chose to use BLE for communication due to ultra low power and the backbone already established by iBeacons.

    The LightBlue bean despite being expensive was chosen for the prototype due to it's insanely small size and inbuilt cr2032 battery.
    The code was compatible with Arduino, So it would be easier to develop our application.
    The sensors we chose to work on our first revision is the HTU21 humidity sensor and a MICS5524 sensor.
    The data would be read by a Raspberry Pi3 which would be a gateway device to upload the data to a cloud service like Thingspeak or Node-Red.
    For the first prototype we want to implement our idea and record the sensor data and find out the issues to iterate our design.

    A sketch of our implementation is attached below.









  • Beginnings

    Manoj kumar08/19/2016 at 19:44 0 comments

    The idea was conceptualized a few days back when I read a newspaper article on the wide spread food spoilage even during drought conditions in my state.

    The cause was identified as fungal infection in grains and spread of salmonella in meat due to improper refrigeration. Doing some research I was unable find a connected sensor solution to detect and monitor food spoilage and rot.

    I decided to build my own low cost BLE based mesh sensor that can either be dropped inside grain sack to monitor relative humidity or set alongside meat packaging to detect volatile organic compounds emitted during decay.

    I hope that this project can bring attention to food spoilage and by optimizing the food supply chain using FoodBeacons it is my belief that not only accountability will result in safer and fresher food but also overall food wastage would be minimized.

    Food surplus was a gift given by our ancestors and it is something we must take utmost care when millions starve worldwide.


    (Food wastage estimate: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/09/next-food-revolution-youre-eating/)

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