Talking tech since 2003

Star Trek has provided the blueprint for a lot of the technology we take for granted today. From things as simple as automatic doors all the way to technology that works like magic, like the iPad, Siri, and Cortana, it probably first showed up on the USS Enterprise. But some technology still eludes our grasp; we’ve yet to crack the faster-than-light travel nut, and transporters are probably never going to happen. But it seems that one company out of Tel Aviv, Israel, is on track to releasing a real world tricorder—and you can pre-order one right now.

The company is called Consumer Physics, and their Kickstarter campaign for the SCiO pocket molecular scanner has already more than doubled its $200,000 goal after having launched only a couple of days ago. According to the campaign page, the SCiO utilizes near-infrared spectroscopy, in which light is bounced off a substance or object, and the resulting “light echo” reveals information about the molecules it encountered and their vibrations. The SCiO has a built-in spectrometer and can transmit the data it reads from scanned samples back to apps on your smartphone, revealing tons of important data like the chemical makeup of medicine, food, beverages, and more.

scio-appSo how does that information help a user? For starters, shoppers can pick the tastiest fruit, or know when fruit is going to ripen, or even know the amount of calories and sugar present in different foods. People can know about their plants’ hydration levels, or even their own level of hydration. Overall, it would give users more information about the world around them, and might help them make more informed decisions about what they decide to consume.

So far, the SCiO is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later models, third generation iPads and later, and Android devices running Android 4.3 or later. With 44 days of pledging left, and more than double its initial goal, the SCiO will likely crack the million dollar barrier by tomorrow, and could break records given the pace of the pledges it’s receiving. And there are still pre-orders available at a discounted price of $199, a hundred bucks off the planned MSRP of $299. I’m tempted to order one myself.

Hopefully the SCiO can prove there’s a market for more devices like this. And since Apple is reportedly making a big push into recording users’ biometric data with the Healthbook App that’s coming built into iOS 8, chances seem good that this is only the beginning of tech designed to help us understand the world around us, and how we react to it.

Will you be getting a SCiO?

[SCiO on Kickstarter]

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