A team of engineering students at Harvard is teaming with a startup called Savormetrics to develop a device that can tell us when avocados will be ripe. It’s one step on the way to solving the costly problem of food waste. Plus: a project in Belgium called #ArtGenetics is learning about the evolution of fruits and vegetables through classic paintings.

Forestalling food waste (Harvard)

Old Paintings Reveal How Fruits and Vegetables Have Evolved Over the Centuries (VICE)

Becoming a Cool Weird Awesome backer on Patreon is delicious

This episode is so full of avocados, hipsters will want to spread it on toast.

Whatever it is you like to eat, know that the cost of that food is higher than it normally would be, because of the problem of food waste.

Some estimates find that as much as 40 percent of food in the U.S. is thrown out, uneaten, a large amount of it produce that’s gone bad sitting on display in the grocery store.

A team of engineering students at Harvard has been working on a partial solution, by teaming with a startup called Savormetrics, which focuses on analyzing food to better understand its shelf life.

That way, grocery stores could put the items closer to ripening where they can be sold quickly, and there would be less waste all around.

Their device uses sensors to detect chemical properties of avocados.

The prototype could accurately predict the day each avocado would be ripe 60 percent of the time, and it could tell within two days an additional 30 percent of the time!

The startup is planning to turn the prototype into an actual sensor to manufacture and sell, which could be a big help if you’re one of the people who’s ever sorted through the avocados at the store looking for one that’s just right.

Meanwhile in Belgium, a new project called #ArtGenetics is studying paintings from centuries ago that include depictions of fruit and vegetables, and using them to track how those foods have evolved.

Those still-life paintings from the old days are actually a giant historical database of food!