A Molecular Scanner for One's Smartphone

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Do your customers want to analyse their food and medication with a portable molecular scanner? ConsumerPhysics promises exactly that with the SCiO, a miniature app-enabled spectrometer.

SCiOThe SCiO is a small device based on near-infrared spectroscopy, an analysis technology using the "unique optical signature" molecules create when interacting with light. In a few words a light source illuminates the object (such as a fruit or a piece of food) in question, and an optical sensor (or spectrometer) breaks down the reflected light to its spectrum.

In turn the spectrum is pushed to a paired smartphone and companion app via Bluetooth LE, which sends it to a cloud-based analysis service to provide information on nutrition, sweetness and even ripeness to the user.

Spectrometers using such technology are usually large machines-- at least the size of a laptop-- but the makers claim the SCiO features a tiny version armed with low-cost optics and advanced algorithms.

Will the SCiO fulfill the promise of Star Trek-style tricorders for all? The device certainly clicked with the public's imagination, as its Kickstarter campaign already beat an initial goal of $200000 by the tune of over $1 million. Following the crowdfunding/preorder effort the first SCiO units should be available from December 2014.

Go SCiO Kickstarter