This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.
Wisconsin is famous for cheese. But it's also the United States' number-one producer of a tart, red fruit that's on pretty much every Thanksgiving dinner table.
"We have this reputation of being the dairy state, but cranberries outnumber the cows." Susan Hagness, an electrical engineer at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Cranberries, she says, are big business—they're the official state fruit! And supply chain managers need estimates of the size of the upcoming harvest. Which can be hard to make.
"The current approach for estimating cranberry yield is literally to go out into the field and hand pick and hand count all the cranberries in a one-square-foot area. This is obviously an inefficient and laborious approach. There can in fact be up to 900 berries per square foot."
So scientists from Ocean Spray asked Hagness for help. And she and her team found in lab tests that zapping cranberry plants with microwaves, and then studying the signal that bounces back, might just work. Recall that your microwave oven works by exciting water molecules in whatever you're heating up. Same concept here: microwaves interact differently with plump, juicy cranberries—which contain lots of water—than they do with leaves. The return signal thus provides a good estimate of the number of cranberry clusters in a given plot.
By the way, the microwaves used for this application are very low power—on par with the radiation that comes out of a cell phone. "You know we're not cooking the cranberries right there in the field."
The team presented their preliminary results at an IEEE conference earlier this year.
Since then they've moved from the lab to the bog—they're currently analyzing data from tests done during this year's crop. If the method holds up, it might give cranberry growers something to be thankful for.
Thanks for listening for Scientific American — 60-Second Science Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.
威斯康星州以奶酪闻名于世 。而该州也是一种又红又酸水果的全美第一大产地，这种水果几乎在所有家庭的感恩节餐桌上都能看到 。
“我们以乳制品闻名，但是我们州的蔓越莓数量可比牛多 。”威斯康星大学麦迪逊分校的电子工程师苏珊·海格尼斯说道 。
她表示，蔓越莓是笔大买卖，它们是官方认定的州果！供应链经理需要对即将收获的水果量进行估算 。而这很难计算 。
“估算蔓越莓产量的现行方法是，去田里亲自采摘和手工计算一平方英尺能产出多少蔓越莓 。显然这种方法效率低又费力 。每平方英尺的蔓越莓产量可高达900个 。”
因此，来自优鲜沛公司（生产蔓越莓果汁的公司）的科学家向海格尼斯寻求帮助 。她和团队在实验室测试中发现，先用微波对蔓越莓植物进行刺激，然后研究反射回来的信号，这可能会起作用 。回想一下你微波炉的工作原理，即通过激活水分子来加热 。同样的原理：微波与饱满多汁且含有大量水分的蔓越莓的相互作用，与它们同叶子的相互作用不同 。因此，返回的信号可以很好地估算指定区域内蔓越莓群的数量 。
另外，这一应用中的微波能耗很低，与手机辐射相当 。“我们并不是在田野里烹饪蔓越莓 。”
在那之后，他们从实验室转移到了沼泽地区，现在他们正在分析今年收成的测试数据 。如果这种方法经得起检验，那蔓越莓种植者会感谢这项技术 。
谢谢大家收听科学美国人——60秒科学 。我是克里斯托弗·因塔利亚塔 。
1. be famous for 著名的；有名的；
例句：This director is famous for making thrillers.
2. heat up （尤指将已经冷掉的熟食）加热；
例句：Freda heated up a pie for me.
3. interact with 相互作用；相互影响；
例句：Atoms within the fluid interact with the minerals that form the grains.
4. hold up （论点、理论等）经受得住检验；
例句：I'm not sure if the argument holds up, but it's stimulating.