Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SCiO turning Apple iPhone into molecular scanner

SCiO & Apple
To get to know of the nutritional value of a restaurant meal or even slicing into an unripe fruit may soon be a thing of the past with the entry of SCiO, which is a pocket sized spectrometer that enables user to analyse the molecular structure of any substance from plants to food and even the human body giving the results on their iPhone device.

With the aid of Consumer Physic, SCiO’s creator, one can have a Star Trek experience with this device and users can focus the Zippo sized scanner at a fruit and find out its ripeness without the need of even touching or peeling it. Moreover, the SCiO could also be used to analyse a meal to determine its calories as well as its fat content, thus making the tracking of the meal much easier than before.

Providing Nutritional Information

It is a device which provides the nutritional information on the food we consume without the need of entering most of it and is the first portable spectrometer for consumers offering a greater versatility of application. It could help users in checking soil conditions alert gardeners on their plants for sufficient water or ensure their medication is authentic.

Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics informed CNN that it is the first application for consumers who would be interested in knowing the nutritional value of what they are consuming, adding further that she often came across people who did not know the contents in cheese, fruit or vegetables thus having a hard time in discerning what should be eaten.

This device according to her would be empowering if consumers would want to change their intake, either for medical reasons or training thus providing education in teaching to make better nutritional options.

Endless Applications 

According to Co-founder of Consumer Physics, Damian Goldring in a promotional video for the gadget, he states that the applications are endless. The SCiO can be connected to a smartphone through the Bluetooth Low Energy which works in tandem along with a custom companion application where SCiO directs its raw data to the cloud for analysis with the results available on the user’s handset.

The readings taken by SCiO is done through a method known as infrared spectroscopy wherein the light reflected from an object is analyzed by a sensor called the spectrometer. Due to the different molecules interaction with light in unique way, the spectrometer is capable to determine which molecules would be responsible for the light signature that it envisages.

SCiO, Low in Cost with Advance Algorithms

Though handheld spectrometers operating on this method do exist, they are generally big and bulky items would be costing a large amount of money. Consumer Physics had stated that they use low cost optics with advance algorithms in order to make SCiO smaller with significant low in cost when compared to other NIR spectrometers.

SCiO technology which seems to be similar to anapproachApple is rumoured to be studying for its `iWatch’, Apple though focused on health benefits like non-invasive blood oxygen and glucose monitoring instead of the general purpose spectroscopy.

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