A hand held scanner that can read the molecular structure of the food you're about to eat? Sounds like the sort of thing you would find on the U.S.S Enterprise, but a new Kickstarter is making it a reality.
Consumer Physics, the Israeli company behind the new SCiO device, have already more than doubled their initial plea for the 200k start up, hitting 480k this week. But what exactly is the SCiO?
The hand held device uses a light source that illuminates whatever is being scanned, a spectrometer (optical sensor) then collects and analyzes the reflected light and send the information via blue tooth directly to your smart device.The spectrometer will be set up on initial release to analyze everything from how ripe your avocado is to identifying your medication, but what is really impressive is the potential for what is to come.
Taking a page from Wikipedia and Google, the developers of SCiO are counting on users to help build up a more complete data base of materials. So many different material structures exist on Earth that it would take a team of thousands working round the clock to create an accurate database, but with the ability to scan and upload information to a group cloud, SCiO users will be adding information to the database with every new material scanned, including themselves. The device has been designed to be small, practical, and, best of all, affordable in efforts to provide as many users as possible with their own molecular scanner.
Access to a complete data base of molecular material may well be the first step to bringing the futuristic technology of Star Trek into reality. The Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize already has 30 teams worldwide competing for the ten million dollar prize. The prize will go to the team that successfully creates a working version of the famed tricorder. For those who are not familiar with the Star Trek Universe, a tricorder is a device used by crew members to analyze everything from soil samples to medical patients stats. The devise is a handheld reader with a small, detachable scanner incredibly similar to the SCiO. A portable device capable of diagnosing conditions or analyzing soil samples could revolutionize the way we live, and SCiO is bringing us one step closer. Whether or not any of the Qualcomm teams will take advantage of the developer packages being offered by SCiO remains to be seen, and while the initial applications may be limited the more users on the cloud, the more information for the masses.
The SCiO is compatible with iPhones running iOS5 or later, iPad (3rd generation or later, and Android phones running 4.3 or later. Pre-orders via Kickstarter are available starting at $199.