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Israeli mini-scanner tells what’s in food, drink or pills

Start-up launches pocket molecular sensor that can tell you how many calories are in that burger, if that jacket is real leather, how ripe that tomato is, and more.

An Israeli start-up has launched a pocket device which analyzes instantly the composition of food, drink, medication or other objects.


Consumer Physics says its SCiO tool sends data on the chemical makeup of a substance to the user’s smartphone, where a variety of applications will present the results.

It is “the first molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand,” says Dror Sharon, co-founder of the firm based in Hod Hasharon, near Tel Aviv.

Users will be able to see how many calories are in the burger on their plate, what is in their drink, or if that jacket is really leather.

The SCiO, on the market since last month, does not need physical contact with the substance being tested because it uses a beam of light in what is known as Near Infrared Spectroscopy.

Each molecule interacts with light to create a unique optical signature, which can reveal an object’s chemical properties, such as moisture, fat or sugar content.

By examining, for example, the sugar content of a tomato on the supermarket shelf, the system can determine how ripe it is.

But for the time being it is confounded by a prepared dish such as lasagna, with its layers of pasta, sauce, meat and vegetables.



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