UWI Label – “Revolutionary Potential”

Today’s report on more funding for the UWI Label (pronounced yoo-wee) is a great step forward for a product which Heriot-Watt has had a major hand in creating and developing.

Inventor Pete Higgins hit on the idea of a smart label which would tell him how long any jar had been opened for, and therefore whether or not the food inside had gone off.  This would be indicated by a clear strip which over time would turn green, indicating for how many days, weeks or months have elapsed since the jar was first opened, depending on the contents, before finally turning red to show the food had expired and was no longer safe to consume.

Heriot-Watt has helped develop UWI's technology.

Pete Higgins, inventor of UWI, over jars with his labels attached.

Through Interface-the knowledge connection for business, UWI (Use Within) was introduced to Heriot-Watt in order to help advance the technology of the label and develop the commercial potential of the product. The collaboration received Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher funding, followed by  funding through EDTC and the Product Realisation Centre, and has given rise to an important and successful partnership between industry and academia.

 

UWI will revolutionise safety standards in sectors like medicines, aerospace, cosmetics and food and drink.
– Pete Higgins

This latest funding of an additional £250,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Investment Bank, £254,000 from a US private investor syndicate alongside £68,000 from private UK investors, is fantastic news, and will help advance the technology.

Heriot-Watt’s role in developing UWI

Spanning two of Heriot-Watt’s Campuses, Edinburgh and the Borders, experts were identified to evaluate the problem, and undertake research into the subject to find appropriate chemicals. With the help of funding grants, Robert Christie, Professor of Colour Chemistry & Technology, and Roger Wardman, Professor of Colour Science, supported the company  in to identify a range of chemical systems which have the potential to fulfil the requirements of the UWI Label.

The next stage was to develop a working prototype to show to investors, and demonstrate the technology to investors.

Top Heriot-Watt University academic, Dr. Will Shu, was asked to collaborate on the scientific development and overall design of the UWI Label, with the aim of it becoming a standard feature on every food jar throughout the world

Shelf-life smart labels could hit shelves in 2013

Shelf-life smart labels could hit shelves in 2013

The innovative colour changing label developed by Heriot-Watt University, which tells consumers how fresh their food is could hit supermarket shelves next year.

Pete Higgins with the UWI (Use Within) Label

How it works

The label is applied at the point of production so when the consumer picks the jar of food off the shelf in the supermarket, the UWI Label is already there and is only activated when the jar is opened for the first time.

The label then displays how long it has been since the first opening by a series of squares turning green indicating that it is still safe to use. Once it has reached its “use within” period, the final square turns red warning you that it is no longer safe to consume and can now be discarded.

Working with Heriot Watt’s expertise

Spanning two of Heriot-Watt’s Campuses, Edinburgh and the Borders, experts were identified to evaluate the problem, and undertake research into the subject to find appropriate chemicals. With the help of funding grants, Robert Christie, Professor of Colour Chemistry & Technology, and Roger Wardman, Professor of Colour Science, supported the company in to identify a range of chemical systems which have the potential to fulfil the requirements of the UWI Label.

The next stage was to develop a working prototype to show to investors, and demonstrate the technology to investors.

Top Heriot-Watt University academic, Dr. Will Shu, was asked to collaborate on the scientific development and overall design of the UWI Label, with the aim of it becoming a standard feature on every food jar throughout the world.

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Shelf-life-smart-labels-could-hit-shelves-in-2013-developer

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