AvoRipe Takes A Firm Grip On The Ultimate First World Food Problem

You don’t have to be an extinct mammal or a Millennial to enjoy the smooth, buttery taste of an avocado. Being psychic on the other hand is definitely an advantage to catch that small, perfect window between raw and rotten of this divaesque fruit. But don’t worry, as modern problems require modern solutions, [Eden Bar-Tov] and [Elad Goldberg] built the AvoRipe, a device to notify you when your next avocado has reached that window.

Taking both the firmness and color of an avocado as indicators of its ripeness into account, the team built a dome holding a TCS3200 color sensor as stand for the avocado itself, and 3D printed a servo-controlled gripper with a force sensor attached to it. Closing the gripper’s arms step by step and reading the force sensor’s value will determine the softness the avocado has reached. Using an ESP8266 as centerpiece, the AvoRipe is turned into a full-blown IoT device, reporting the sensor readings to a smartphone app, and collecting the avocado’s data history on an Adafruit.IO dashboard.

There is unfortunately one big drawback: to calibrate the sensors, a set of nicely, ripe avocados are required, turning the device into somewhat of a chicken and egg situation. Nevertheless, it’s a nice showcase of tying together different platforms available for widescale hobbyist projects. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to know how to do each part from scratch on your own, but on the other hand, why not use the shortcuts that are at our disposal to remove some obstacles — which sometimes might include programming itself.

14 thoughts on “AvoRipe Takes A Firm Grip On The Ultimate First World Food Problem

  1. Awwww, I was hoping this was a general solution, all fruits have a narrow window between ripe and rotten these days (if they’re even ripe before they’re rotten) due to extended storage periods before you’re allowed to buy them. Seems it’s unpossible to buy fresh these days, if they keep 3 months, pick early and sour, in the fridge they go for 2 months 3 weeks, then you may purchase.

    1. I could imagine an ultrasonic sensor (or transducer) would be able to pick up the different stages of ripeness. Not sure if using the avocado as reflector, absorber or as part of a resonance system would get the best results. Definately a fun project to try for a dark day.

  2. This is indeed a first world food problem. Here in SE Asia, any half decent street vendor won’t sell you avocados unless they’re exactly ripe enough. You can even specify when you want to eat them and they’ll do a decent job getting you appropriate ones. Supermarkets have random quality though.

    The large seed in the really good ones here rattles slightly when you shake them, but that might just be the local variety. That should be easy enough to detect!

  3. A number of things make me thing the world has lost it’s mind.
    The surge in popularity of avocados is one of them.
    Knowing they are healthy, I’m proud of the fact that I have mostly broken myself of the involuntary wretch I used to get whenever I swallow something with avocado in it.
    I think that’s about as good as it’s going to get for me.

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