An Israeli team of researchers and developers has introduced yet another technology that intends to make science fiction a reality.

The Tel Aviv based firm, Consumer Physics, Inc., is now in the final stages of developing a Scio, a “pocket molecular sensor.”

While most people have never heard of, let alone dreamed of, owning such a device, its applications promise to appeal to all. Essentially, the Scio is a handheld device that can immediately analyze a substance’s chemical makeup and provide the user with instantaneous practical information. As an example, the Scio can be pointed at a milkshake and within seconds the user can receive information about its nutritional value or allergenic contents and then make an educated decision on whether to indulge. For more curious minds, the Scio can be pointed at any plant and then give its user all relevant biological and botanical information about that plant.

Scio is a Tiny but Powerful Device

The device uses a tiny spectrometer to sample the substance and then draws from a cloud-based database to interpret its chemical makeup and convert it into user-friendly data. As the creators explain, the method for collecting the information utilized by Scio, near-IR spectroscopy, is not new. However, the ability to bring this technology to such a small device, with such ease of use, is radically new.

scioCurrently, the Scio can analyze foods, plants and medicines, but its developers have clear plans to expand its capabilities. As they point out, the database is designed to “learn” while it is used. Each scan is uploaded to the database and becomes data accessible for subsequent user scans. Scans can also be made instantly available to others through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Scio has definitely been gaining attention. It has nearly reached its Kickstarter goal of $200,000, provided by over 9,000 backers worldwide.

Its creators have a vision that sees Scio becoming a key to the creation of a “world database of matter.” Not a modest mission, but they project expertise and enthusiasm that leaves consumers wondering if they just might accomplish it.

Scio is scheduled for release in December 2014.

Written by: Yonatan Schechter, United with Israel