Food Scanner for Health Lovers
SCiO is a pocket molecular sensor that allows users to check the nutritional value of food, among other things
This ‘Star Trek’-style molecular sensor fits in your hand, reads your food
(CNN) — Anyone who has been deceived by a punchbowl at a party, or a diet-busting cake, will recognize the value of knowing exactly what you are eating. A new pocket scanner promises to deliver that power by giving the user an instant breakdown of alcohol, sugar, or calorie content before they consume.
The USB-shaped ‘SCiO’ device was launched through a Kickstarter campaign earlier in the week and reached its target within 24 hours, with devices available for as little as $149.
The product of Israeli start-up Consumer Physics, it uses spectrometry to read the “molecular fingerprint” of an object, shining near Infra-Red light on it which stimulates the molecules and then records their reactions.
An accompanying app then displays the nutrient values on a smart phone, measuring fat, protein and carbohydrate levels to the milligram, as well as overall quality.
This underlying technology has been industry standard for decades in quality control of oil, sewage or chemicals. But SCiO is the first portable spectrometer for consumers, and offers far greater versatility of application. The product, developed by engineers from leading institutions such as MIT and Harvard, has been tested in live demonstrations with high accuracy. The final product will be sent to backers this year.
“The first application is for consumers interested to know the nutritional value of what they’re eating”, Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics, told CNN. “I often meet people who don’t know what’s in cheese, fruit and vegetables and have a hard time discerning what they should eat.”
“I think this can be empowering if people want to change their intake, whether for medical reasons or training, and can be educational in teaching us to make better nutritional choices.”
Uses do not end with food. Apps are available to analyze medicine or the health of houseplants. SCiO could be a protective tool for clubbers keen to check if their drink has been spiked, or patients to see if their pills are as advertised.
The device could be applied to the environment as well as consumed objects — an athlete could scan their track or field in order to optimize its playability.