Ever wondered how to search for something on the Internet without knowing the name of the object? How many times have you thought, What in the heck is THAT? I wish I could snap a picture or scan it and Google what I’m seeing!

A new scanner — designed to identify the molecular structure of objects — may be the solution.

The flash-drive sized device can reveal molecular data of the food the user is about to eat. Image source: Scio.

The flash drive sized device can reveal molecular data of the food the user is about to eat (Image source: Consumer Physics).

The designers call the Scio scanner “your sixth sense,” because it will give users molecular-level insights into the physical world around them. While the Internet is wildly convenient for exploring the world around us, searching for information on an unidentifiable object can be difficult when you don’t know where to start.

“Sure you can type in the word “apples,” but you can’t Google the apple sitting on your kitchen counter,” Wired reports. Likewise, a person can search for a type of medication name, but you can’t Google the pill you find at the bottom of your purse, or the do an instant Internet search for what might be in the bowl of punch at your company holiday party.

But that can all change with a simple scan, Dror Sharon, co-founder and CEO of Consumer Physics, says. Their new creation — a handheld device called Scio — can determine the molecular makeup of objects like food and medication.

What Shazam is to music, Scio is for physical objects.
Share:

Sharon’s team developed a scanner that takes advantage of infrared spectroscopy — technology that has long been used in scientific environments, but Consumer Physics miniaturized it for consumers.

Scio is about the size of a flash drive. It operates by shining a beam of light onto a random object, say, a glass of wine. When the light hits the “target,” the molecules that are shined on will vibrate, creating a detailed molecular “fingerprint” for that physical object.

Once the device detects a specific vibration fingerprint, it then connects the data to the Scio cloud for analysis, then the smartphone app reveals the nutritional breakdown for the item.

As the molecular data is uploaded for more and more items, the Scio cloud analysis will be able to identify more and more objects; and through the crowd sourced-information, the team wants to build build the worlds first data base of matter. Currently the application will work for solids, liquids and poweders. The design team says the technology can benefit “anyone who would like instant information about the things they interact with and consume every day.”

Check out the video below from the Scio Kickstarter page:

(H/T: Wired)

Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.