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World’s first pocket spectrometer lets you Tafline get the free Inhabitat newsletter
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measure the molecular makeup of nearly 1437 articles
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by Tafline Laylin, 07/22/15
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SCiO is a new gadget that instantly measures the molecular fingerprint of just about anything you Energy >
see, and it fits in your pocket. Want to know the alcohol content of that beer you’re about to slurp
down or how many grams of sugar are in your apple? This mini spectrometer will tell you.
Equipped with some of the capabilities of large, heavy laboratory spectrometers, but built around
the kind of optics used in cell phone cameras, the SCiO measures the light reflected off any given
object, breaks down its spectrum, and then sends that information to the cloud. Consumer
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Physics‘ unique algorithms immediately interpret the resulting data and the results show up on
your cell phone within 5 seconds on a 3G connection. Designed to empower you with knowledge of Browse By Date
your environment, medicine, food, and a near-infinite number of things, the SCiO will also allow you
to participate in building the world’s first database of matter.
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“SCiO is based on the proven near-IR spectroscopy method,” writes Consumer Physics. “The Renewable Energy Solar
physical basis for this material analysis method is that each type of molecule vibrates in its own Power
unique way, and these vibrations interact with light to create a unique optical signature.”
“With every scan, SCiO learns more about the world around us, so we can all get smarter,” the
Sustainable
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Israel-based developers continue. “Our development team has taught SCiO some exciting things, FDA finds majority of
like to tell how much fat is in any salad dressing, how much sugar is in a particular piece of fruit,
how pure an oil is and lots more.”
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recorded to contribute to the first database of its kind, the SCiO would allow consumers to be more with
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informed about the energetic quantity and quality of everything they consume. This will make it powder Leopard,
Trum p, have
difficult, for example, for big agricultural companies to pass off unhealthy lettuce at the grocery Sharks have been com e under…
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story. By illuminating that lettuce and breaking down its spectrum, the SCiO is able to extract a great discovered living andinside
More
deal of information. In other words, light, combined with cutting-edge technology, may expose an active
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content of our favorite chocolate, which we might not want to know. 3 Comments >
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Computer Physics is careful to note, however, the device can’t detect the presence or absence of
everything. NEXT
“SCiO is NOT a medical device and should NOT be relied on to protect you from allergens under
any circumstances,” the company explains. “Since SCiO is designed to measure small portions of
a sample or food at a time, it cannot guarantee the absence of specific molecules on your plate, or
in a serving. SCiO can tell you major components of foods (i.e. with typical concentration of 1% or
more), while some allergens can be hazardous even in lower concentrations.”
The product’s genius is (partially) in its built-in perpetuity. As more consumers use it, so does its
efficacy grow. The more information stored in the company’s database, the more information it has
to share. Compatible with several models of iPhones and Androids and retailing for $249, the SCiO
also comes with a developer kit. Which means even a dunce like me can learn how to build a a
new molecular sensor model, and that’s nothing short of unreal.
+ SCiO
Images via Consumer Physics

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8 Comments

venuanand August 3, 2015 at 8:54 am

Can it identify and quantify pesticides on vegetables and fruits?

Inhabitat

Roger Wolsey August 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

See also: “Mr Spock’s Smartphone” http://www.zdnet.com/article/mr-spocks-


smartphone-a-spectrometer-for-your-keychain/

José Antonio Granado D... July 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Hi all,
From what I can gather from the article above, I think this will work with FTIR – a
technology already used a lot in the food industry especially agriculture, to know for
example when fruits or vegetables are ripe enough to be harvested. It does
measures basically the surfaces (a few molecule layers into the food) and the way it
works is:
– some chemical bonds will have some certain specific energies within the
spectrum at which they will peak See On
– analyzing the whole spectrum will give you information of the types of chemical
bonds present
– finally, comparing those spectra with a bibliography, you can determine the
chemical “fingerprint” of what you are testing
SOURCE: what I remember from my “spectromety classes” back at Uni.
It seems that the innovation here comes with the “cloud” connectivity of the device,
as there are already a lot of portable devices for this out in the market.
In my opinion, to get really accurate results with this technology is a complicated
thing. It will work quite well for qualitative analysis but not so for quantitative, or at
least it’s quite hard to get good quantitative data in uncontrolled environments.
Anyways, it still seems like a very interesting technology.
BTW, I don’t think GMOs can be covered with this technology – in order to test for
GMOs you need to do DNA testing, which requires PCR, amplification of DNA signal,
etc. which is a quite complicated method to do “on the go”. As per organic, well it
depends, the molecular structure of the food itself won’t be that different between
organic or non-organic, but maybe if you are looking for certain “non-organic”
fertilizers or pesticides, for example, you could get an idea if the food is organic.

James Alexander July 26, 2015 at 4:29 am

For context I haven’t used a SCiO to know how accurate/effective they are. Sounds
promising though.
@Neil Vs Yes, if it gives enough info and you know enough about the food to know
exactly what to expect. But without using one myself I cannot give a conclusive
answer.
@Michael A. Williams Sr No it wouldn’t be able to. As it is a spectrometer it will only
be able to read the surface of an object. So all it will tell you is the quality of the
surface metal. E.g. you should be able to work out the carat count (or purity for silver)
but not the depth of he metal. This is why even metalurgists use the ‘scratch test’
unfortunately yes, this damages the item being measured.
@Ben Hennessy IT sure will assuming it works like a real spectrometer. Not sure I
would ask that question on the internet, but yes.
@Alex see my comment above for Neil. No idea how the SCiO works, if I decide to
buy one this will be one of my first tests. Naturally I will be back here to give more
feedback if I do. I am a little sceptical of a pocket spectrometer, but it’s definitely
exciting if it is for real. But as for Neil, yes it should be able to if it works well
enough/accurately enough.

Neil Vs July 23, 2015 at 5:17 am

Will I be able to tell if food is organic or not?

Michael A. Williams Sr July 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Would this bea ble to tell the difference between something that is silver vs. plated
with silver? Gold vs. goldplated?

Ben Hennessy July 22, 2015 at 4:57 am

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Can it tell me if the MDMA I bought at a music festival is actually bath salts?

Alex Kain July 21, 2015 at 8:37 pm

regarding the new SCiO device, can it tell you if a organic product is a GMO product?

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