You might have used your smart phones to scan barcodes, take pictures and find relevant content or even scan a text to translate the language. A simple scanning application in the smart phone does the job. What if you can scan anything without the need of labels, codes or specific shapes such as natural everyday objects? We are not talking about a science fiction plot. You can actually do this and not just scan but also extract information about it.
Data Scientists and algorithm experts from MIT, Harvard and Caltech have come together to make a pocket molecular sensor named SCiO. This small device analyzes the molecular features of food, plant and medication and provides the nutritional facts on your smart phone app. The sensed data is transferred to smart phone application via Bluetooth. The app is then connected to a cloud based service which use advance algorithms to categorize the sensed data and sends back the relevant information to your smart phone. Scientists have built the initial database of substances for accurate detection but they hope it will grow as users will scan diverse objects.
SCiO is based on an old material analysis method known as near IR spectroscopy. The science behind is the unique vibration of each molecule creating its own optical signature. The light source inside it illuminates the object and captures the reflected light. The captured light contains all the necessary information for further analysis.
The kickstarter campaign was launched in April 2014 and it has already surpassed the required target. The project has offered different incentives for developers, researchers and even a common person which may be contributing factor for its popularity.
The final product shipment is expected in December 2014. In the mean time, Check out the prototype demo video below.