Chemical Scanner Designed to Change How We Buy Products
A chemical scanner has been developed by Israeli inventor Dror Sharon, who believes it will change how we buy products and watch our health.
The device, called SCiO, is an infrared spectrometer designed to read the chemical makeup of food, drugs, and other products used daily, according to the Seattle Times. While the gadget currently only has a few applications, Sharon is looking to equip the device with the ability to collect data that will let users study the surrounding physical matter.
“We want to find applications where people have the most visceral connection to the world,” said Sharon, CEO and co-founder of Consumer Physics.
The SCiO is as big as a thumb drive and is being marketed to be used for food, pharmaceuticals and horticulture. All users have to do is point the device at an item and they will be able to find different information, such as how many calories are in a piece of cheese or when a tomato will be at its most ripe.
Advocates claim the scanner can be used for life-saving purposes, such as detecting contaminated foods or figuring out if a drug is counterfeit, NDTV Gadgets reported.
“Immediately, the major impact will be increasing the awareness of people to the material world around them, which is already an enormous effect,” said Sanford Ruhman, chemistry professor and spectroscopy expert at Hebrew University in Israel.
Ruhman, who is not involved with SCiO, said that while the technology has been growing smaller and smaller for decades, the SCiO represents a significant new step. It is believed to be the first device of its kind.
A self-described “skeptic by nature,” Ruhman suggested that in the future the ability to detect chemicals could be very beneficial in fields such as health and security. “It is just the beginning of something that can become much larger,” he said.
Sharon claims the SCiO to be the next generation of “Goggling,” believing the current process of looking for information to be too complicated and slow, with users having to think of questions and type in certain sets of words without knowing whether they’ll get useful results.
He said the scanner can be pointed at any item without the user even knowing exactly what it is. It reads the molecular structure of the item, matches the information to a database and can then send extra data to the user’s mobile device, the Seattle Times reported.
“I think it will change the world in many ways,” he said, adding that the spectrometer could be used to keep track of soil analysis, car tires, fuel tanks and even the human body.
A Kickstarter campaign has been started for the SCiO, with the device already receiving more than $20 million from over 11,000 supporters. Sharon is looking to have supporters own a SCiO by the end of the year to help build what he calls “the world’s largest database of matter” to be stored online for users to share. Hundreds of these supporters will also serve as developers with the task of testing and improving the gadgets’s software, NDTV Gadgets reported.
“Obviously it’s nice to have $2 million,” Sharon said. “But it was more about creating a community and creating engagement rather than actual funding.”
Sharon added he is also looking to make the SCiO available to consumers for $299 “sometime in the next year.”
Yossi Vardi, one of Israel’s most successful high-tech investors, said the unorthodox development program is one of SCiO’s greatest strengths.
“It’s kind of an open innovation community,” said Vardi, who said he is not an investor in the company. “And the winners are those who are able to recruit the highest number of developers, because then you have like a huge worldwide brain, which comes with a lot of ideas.”