Principal investigator: John Suarez

University: Widener University

Industry partner: Probes Unlimited, Inc.

This project will build upon preliminary work already begun by Probes Unlimited, Inc. (PUI) to design, prototype, rigorously test, and manufacture a precision sensor for monitoring the quality of cooking oil. PUI intends to market this sensor to Pennsylvania restaurants, eateries, and bakeries. Widener University will conduct the necessary research and development to assist PUI in developing the capacitive sensor with the required characteristics. Widener will also conduct research on the viability of infrared sensing technology in this application. The scope of the project will go beyond the development of a working engineering prototype. The goal of the project is to develop a sensor with back-end electronics that not only meets the specifications required by PUI and its customers; that is, in addition, the sensor and accompanying electronics will be fully scalable, reproducible, and suitable for mass manufacturing. The sensor must be able to withstand the high temperatures typically encountered in the preparation of fried food and—equally important–the sensor's back-end electronics must be compact and resilient to the high-temperature environment typically found in the busiest kitchens in and around the State, serving customers from early-morning to late-night hours.