It might sound like something from Star Trek, but a handheld gadget that scans the molecular fingerprint of physical matter and instantly gives information about its chemical makeup is now on the market.
It’s called Scios, and its Israeli inventors say it can be used for everything from finding out the calorie content of your food to checking if your medication really does include the drugs you paid for.
Anyone who has picked the wrong punchbowl at a party, or wants to resist a diet-busting cake, will understand the value of knowing exactly what’s in what you’re eating. This new pocket scanner delivers that power by instantaneously giving the user a breakdown of alcohol, sugar, or calorie content.
The brainchild of Israeli start-up Consumer Physics, it uses mass spectrometry to read a substance’s “molecular fingerprint” by shining near Infra-Red light on it, stimulating the molecules and then it records their reactions. Then an app displays the analyzed values on a smart phone, measuring the fat, protein and carbohydrate content to the milligram, as well as the overall quality.
This basic technology has been industry standard for decades assuring quality control of oil, sewage or chemicals. The SCiO is the first portable spectrometer for consumers, offering a wide variety of applications.
Apps are already available so users can analyze their medicines or check the health of their houseplants. SCiO could even be a protective tool for clubbers to check if their drink has been spiked. The device can be applied to the environment as well. For instance, an athlete might scan the track or field in order to optimize its playability. Future apps will analyze jewels and precious stones, metals, leather and even human tissue and bodily fluids