Thanks to the overwhelming success of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, a new gadget called SCIO will be produced that is expected to be life changing. The food sensor that can fit in a pocket can be aimed at items to read their exact nutritional values and more. The information can then be read through a smartphone app. It can be used for a variety of items, but most notably, for reading the calorie, carb and fat content in foods, even those without labels.
The Israeli start-up company, Consumer Physics, has been developing the food scanning gadget over the last three years. The spectrometry is used to find the “molecular fingerprint” of the items scanned. The hand-held technology is viewed as a breakthrough device and it is the smallest scanner of its kind, though several other companies are simultaneously developing similar devises. It was designed by a team of top-notch engineers, physicists and chemists.
The public’s reaction to the food sensor is phenomenal. People have compared SCIO to a device used in Star Trek and have called it the “device that will change the world.” Fans put their money where their mouths were and pledged over $500,000 to fund the project within a 24-hour period.
What is the gadget and how does it work? SCIO is a small reader that resembles a USB device. It operates much like a price code scanner, only no bar codes are needed for it to work. Pointing and clicking the food sensor at items sends a flash of light that reads the molecular makeup of the item and can provide a variety of details, including calories, carbs and fat.
How is it useful? Anyone who has ever dieted knows how hard it is to track their food intake with any kind of precision. At best, people guess on their food content based on averages. This gadget will allow dieters to find the exact nutritional values in the foods they eat, however. It can help people stay within their calorie, carb and fat ranges and make better food choices. In addition to offering the nutritional value of foods, it also has the ability to determine ripeness and quantity.
The value goes beyond just food items though. SCIO can read the molecular content of makeup, jewels, recyclables, plants and more. Medicine can be scanned to identify what it ingredients it contains and considering the questionable nature of supplements, it can let users know the exact ingredients they contain.
The SCIO device will be ready for consumers by the end of 2014, according to the creators. The retail price is expected to be within the $200 to 300 range and will need to be paired with a food app on a smartphone. Though the number of items the gadget would be useful for scanning is lengthy and includes everything from the ingredients in hair care and pet products to the chlorine content of pool water, the company is focusing on using it mainly as a food scanner, noting that it could be particularly useful for those with diabetes or allergies.
By Tracy Rose