SCiO molecular sensor equipped smartphone to identify materials composition

Consumer Physics, at CES 2017, has announced the launch of the first smartphone, Changhong H2, with an integrated SCiO molecular sensor which would enable consumers to identify materials by scanning and analyzing their chemical compositions. Previously, the company had developed a SCiO handheld scanner, and partnered with Analog Devices to increase the sensors’ accuracy while reducing its size.

The sensor employs near-infrared spectroscopy to identify the molecular content of a material. When an object is illuminated using a broadband light source, its molecules only absorb photons of certain energy levels. Therefore, certain wavelengths are either missing or attenuated in the reflected light. Using a spectrometer (a type of optical sensor), the SCiO analyzes the constituent wavelength components of the reflected light, and employs its signal processing algorithms to compare these wavelengths with the original emission, hence creating a spectral fingerprint. This spectral fingerprint can be compared with known fingerprints to identify the object.

The SCiO sensor module will now be placed next to the back camera of the Changhong H2, which boasts a 6-inch 1080p display with 16MP rear camera. Its octa-core CPU will run at 2.0GHz with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage powered by a 3000mAh battery. Objects can be scanned by opening an app and placing the sensor within 0.5 to 2cm of it. The sensor collects data for 1.5 seconds, and the app then compares the spectral fingerprint with others stored in a cloud-based database for identification.

The sensor has several potential applications: it will allow consumers to measure and identify sweetness of food, ripeness of fruits and vegetables, pills in unmarked bottles and numerous others. It even allows for measuring body fat and analyzing nutritional content of food.

Currently, Consumer Physics is working on integrating the sensor in products such as DietSensor scale (the app is included in Changhong H2) to scan and weigh food, allowing consumers to determine the number of calories and the ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins in food. An SDK also helps third-party developers to leverage the sensor’s capabilities.

The Changhong H2 will be priced at RMB. 2999 and will be available in China by June 2017 before coming to other regions such as the US later in the year.

More information can be found at: Consumer Physics.

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