GMO News lapka-sensor-phone-app

Published on August 23rd, 2012 | by Chris Keenan

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New App Can Tell You if Your Food is Organic

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Want to know if that salad is organic? Turns out, there’s an app for that!

Organic food is a growing industry and a highly fashionable preference among consumers, especially in a world where genetically modified crops are creeping into supermarkets around the country. While supermarkets and other retail chains proudly flaunt organic items to consumers, some shoppers want to be reassured that the food they’re buying is, in fact, produced with organic products and not genetically modified.

Until now, that kind of verification has been largely up to scientists and the growers themselves. With an innovative iPhone app, however, organic verification moves decidedly into the consumers’ hands.

The “Appcessory:” A New Kind of iPhone Application

Increasingly, iPhone app developers are pairing their advanced software with specialized hardware that helps to get the job done. The Lapka software suite comes with just such a hardware pairing, featuring four sensors that can measure electromagnetic frequencies, humidity and temperature, radiation, and the organicity of an item. You can use each sensor separately to judge the nature and quality of virtually any item you pick up.

The information recorded from the hardware sensor itself is then transmitted through the iPhone’s headphone jack and displayed on-screen using the Lapka application. Everyone can then judge just how organic your food really is and whether or not you should choose a new supermarket when picking up produce.

The Big Test: How to Determine Whether or Not an Item is Organic

The organicity sensor that comes as part of the Lapka suite actually measures the nitrate concentration of allegedly organic produce at your local supermarket. This is actually a pretty genius technique, as non-organic fertilizers are well-known for containing high concentrations of nitrates. Higher levels of nitrates indicate a higher likelihood that the item is falsely labeled as organic.

The information is then relayed to the consumer in an innovative way. The Lapka application’s interface specifically avoids giving consumers information in technical measurements. Those things are mostly useless anyway, since most shoppers won’t have any idea what a number of units means for the organicity of your food or even the radiation levels in your home or office. Instead, the application tells you whether the area is safe, or whether the food is organic using simple language that avoids scientific technicalities. It then uses a visual display to help you understand the nature of the measurement — is the fruit “partially’ organic, or is the room “somewhat” safe? These measurements make it clear if those things are true.

So Far, Development is Still Ongoing

It should be noted that, while innovative and intuitive, the Lapka suite of sensors and software tools is still undergoing development behind the scenes. The software and hardware are still unavailable for purchase by consumers, catering companies, and others with a stake in the organicity of the food they purchase for their families, clients, and guests.

The sensors show a lot of promise in many real-world applications. Beyond merely testing the organic nature of any produce purchased at a supermarket, the three other sensors paired with the software application are able to measure crucial atmospheric elements. Giving consumers the ability to measure things like humidity, temperature, and especially radiation, gives you the tools you need to protect yourself and your family in the case of an emergency. And, of course, the application will help you eat the healthiest, most eco-friendly meals you can cook.

The Lapka suite of tools merits monitoring as it completes development and enters everyday usage. Consumers will enjoy being able to fact check your local supermarket, while supermarkets will be spurred to a more open and organic selection of products. That’s a healthy, win-win scenario for shoppers.

Image credit: Lapka Electronics

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About the Author

is a green and general blog writer. He also maintains a personal cooking blog. Find Chris on Google



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