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Anyone conscious about what they eat will be happy to hear about a device in the making from Consumer Physics that can tell you how many calories are in that piece of food you are thinking of eating. On top of that, it will tell you the amount of fat and protein and other nutritional information and even advise you if the fruit is ripe enough to eat.
The SCiO molecular scanner offers results in real-time which are sent to an app on the user’s smartphone through Bluetooth. Expected in fall 2014 the scanner will come with apps that are going to help consumers identify the composition of food, medications, and plants.
The scanner might sound like something that you would see one of the teams in Star Trek using, but the Israeli inventors promise that the handheld scanner can be used for checking anything from the number of calories to checking what drugs are in your medication. The company behind it, plans on expanding it so the scanner can be used as a medical sensor, in this case it could be used for analyzing bodily fluids and human tissue.
SCiO makes use of near-IR spectroscopy, the technique relies on the fact that each molecule vibrates differently and is unique. The vibrations work with light, thus creating an optical signature that is unique. SCiO lights up the sample and then the optical sensor (spectrometer) collects the reflected light from the sample.
The optical sensor then breaks down the light and this is where it gets all the information needed to detect the result of the interaction of the sample's molecules and the illuminated light.
The device is then able to send the spectrum of that sample to the phones app through Bluetooth, which is then sent to the servers of the company, where it is analyzed. The company then sends the results back to the phone.
The CEO of Consumer Physics, Dror Sharon, said “Smartphones give us instant answers to questions like where to have dinner, what movie to see, and how to get from point A to point B, but when it comes to learning about what we interact with on a daily basis we're left in the dark.” She went on to say, “We designed SCiO to empower explorers everywhere with new knowledge and to encourage them to join our mission of mapping the physical world.”
Consumer Physics plan on expanding SCiO by way of apps, these will be able to analyze and tell you about cosmetics, clothing, jewels, leather, plastics, and human tissue. An application development kit will also be offered for any 3rd party developers who wish to explore. Developers will then be able to design and offer custom-built apps for the smartphone and SCiO scanner.