My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Consumer Physics US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer – Star Trek Tricorder that can scan the Molecular World

Friday, May 16, 2014

Consumer Physics US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer – Star Trek Tricorder that can scan the Molecular World

This has got to be the coolest gadget by far! Med Sci students and Bio-Chemistry peeps, you gotta put aside US$199 to buy this awesome new Kickstarter Gadget!

On Tuesday April 29th 2014, Israeli based Consumer Physics had kickstarted a pocket sized IR Spectrometer called the SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer as reported in “THIS POCKET-SIZED MOLECULAR SPECTROMETER TELLS YOU THE CHEMICAL MAKEUP OF FOODS”, published April 29, 2014 By Drew Prindle, DigitalTrends

The details of the  SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer, whose name means “to possess knowledge of or be skilled in a particular area”, can of course be read on their SciO’s Kickstarter page which details the extensive R&D and prototyping Consumer Physics has gone through to bring people this one-of-a-kind Gadget.

Currently as of Thursday May 15th 2014, their kickstarter has surpassed their goal of US$200,000 since launch with some 7,352 backers with a total of US$1,511,500 of pledges. With the Funding round coming to a close on Sunday, June 15th 2014 2:00 PM EST, you still have 30 days to get in on what's effectively a portable Star Trek Tricorder that works with your Apple iPhone via an App. 

The US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer will ship by December 2014 and already shows signs of being a very popular kickstarted project brought to you by Consumer Physics.The SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer is very impressive and fitting with the current trend among consumers of support Kickstarted projects, especially as getting in on a Kickstarter may be a pledge as low as US$1!

I’ve began tracking a few of these Crowd-funded projects such as the recent minted US$169 Anova Precision Cooker that’s gonna make Sous-Vide a more common form of cooking as described in my blog article entitled “US$169 Anova Precision Cooker is the Sous-Vide Immersion Cooker for the Masses – Sous-Vide for the Regular At-home Chef is the George Foreman Grill of Immersion Cooking Internet of Things”.

Many of these Kickstarter Projects hold great promise. Not just because of the innovative ideas coming to the fore that would otherwise be stifled by big Corporate companies, but by virtue of how they are funded, opening up the possibility that anyone can design a good product and get support in making it big!

SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer – Star Trek Tricorder that can scan the Molecular World

So what exactly is this gadget and how does it work?

Basically it's a hand-held IR (Infrared) Photo Spectrometer. It works by shining light in the Infrared region on any item you want to analyze to determine its composition. Objects reflect, refract and absorb light, which is of course basic High School Physics.

What many may not know is that the quanta or radiation in IR will often be high enough to cause electrons in the outer shells of Atoms in molecules to be raised from lower Energy levels or Orbitals around their Atomic nuclei (Ground State) to higher Energy levels (Excited State) equivalent to the quanta of Radiation absorbed. 

These temporarily Excited Electrons then fall back from their higher Orbitals (Excited State) to their original Orbital (Ground State), once the IR Radiation pulses off. In this process, they release this extra Energy as a quantum of Backscatter Radiation, also in the same IR, but with a different Frequency and Energy level equivalent to the difference between the Excited State and their Ground State.

The SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer detects that change by analyzing the reflected Backscatter radiation in a manner similar to Diffraction and based on the Backscatter radiation from the object, it can determine the composition of the object.

It does this by communicating with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Then the SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer App then sends the Backscatter IR Spectra information over the Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) connection on the smartphone or Tablet to Consumer Physics Central Server Database of pre-scanned IR Spectra. 

The comparison is made and the results sent back to the Smartphone showing the composition of the item you scanned in a matter of seconds! Amazingly, when buyers scan unknown item that are not in the Database, the Consumer Physics digs deep into other private Databases to identify the molecular composition of this unknown item. Once identified, it’s added to their Database and made accessible to others.

In this way, the SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer expands and becomes self-improving, adding to its storehouse of knowledge as people get curious about their world and happily collect data on behalf of Consumer Physics!
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