What do Kiwi Fruit and Color Printers have in Common?

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 4:56am
Joyce Yeung, TAOS, (


Joyce Yeung System designers are becoming so inventive. I am always thrilled when I see one of our customers take one of our light sensors and design it into ingenious applications that use light to measure, detect and analyze just about anything.  Did you know, for instance, that light sensing can be used to calibrate a color printer, measure the ripeness of kiwi fruit, and even conduct liquid analysis?

The company behind the application is Mutoh, a manufacturer of large format commercial printers. They originally selected the TAOS TSL1401CS linear array for their spectrophotometer, which is a printer peripheral that sits on the printer head and measures the color of the graphic, pixel by pixel. Their spectrophotometer is also useful for process control because over time, colors can drift.  Out-of-balance colors skew the image and damage the picture quality.  For your everyday printing, these aren’t exactly pain points.  But, imagine if this were a 120-foot banner advertisement of Lady Gaga hanging in Times Square.  Bad picture quality can have a negative influence on a buyer’s emotions – and that can lead to reduced ticket and album sales!   

So Mutoh got even more inventive. They took their spectrophotometer technology and repurposed it for industrial use to measure the color of fabric and textiles and such. They were also approached by a customer in New Zealand that wanted to measure the ripeness of kiwi fruit.  Also, a university approached them about using a spectrophotometer to conduct liquid analysis, examining the percentage of phosphate, chlorine, or particles found in liquid. Because the TAOS TSL1401CS linear array is able to operate in both the near-infrared and visible spectrum, Mutoh was able to take their spectrophotometer technology (initially designed for printers!) and repurposed it to meet all of these applications with just minor modifications.  Click here to learn more details about the repurposed Mutoh spectrophotometer applications.


Initially, Mutoh selected the TAOS TSL1401CS because of its small size and packaging, as well as the fact that it provides a very linear response which is critical to producing an accurate reading. Interested in hearing more? Watch what Mutoh has to say about working with the TAOS TSL1401 linear array. 

For more information about TAOS visit




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