Welcome to the Future: Star Trek-Like Food Scanner & Spectrometer

Funded last year on Kickstarter, the Scio ($249) by Consumer Physics will make you feel like you’re on a starship with Captain Picard. This handheld device, about the size of a keychain, emits a blue light that is able to tell you the chemical makeup of an item. It can scan food, plants, medicine, and more. For example, it can tell you the fats, protein, and calories of your meal, the ripeness of an avocado, and whether or not the pill you’re about to take is in fact aspirin.

Scio was featured at CES in Las Vegas the past two years. Kickstarter supporters have been waiting a while to receive the unit they supported, and now you can order it directly from the company’s website. Consumer Physics plans to ship units in May 2016.

The device uses Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy that has been used in labs for years but has never been available to the general public. In a nutshell, the device illuminates a sample and the optical sensor collects the light reflected from the sample. Together, the information is able to analyze how molecules vibrate and send a picture of the chemical makeup straight to your smartphone.

Some of the items that can be scanned by Scio include food, plants, medication, oil and fuels, and plastics. When you scan a sample, the device accesses the Scio cloud to check the database of matter and returns with information. With Scio, you can get nutritional information about different kinds of food, know the well-being of popular plants, and identify medicine or nutritional supplements. In the future, as the Scio database expands and more apps are released, you’ll be able to measure properties of cosmetics, clothes, flora, soil, jewels and precious stones, leather, rubber, and even your pet.

We are definitely living in the future. Want to see the Scio in action? Check out the video below.

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