A new smartphone manufactured by Chinese company Changhong, called the “H2”, has a sensor that lets it scan the chemical composition of objects around it.
The scanner can be used to detect information such as the sugar content of fruit, the active ingredients in medicines, the contents of a drink, or a person’s body composition. One of the proposed uses is scanning food articles for allergens. The items can be scanned at a reasonable distance, which means that users do not need to hold them directly in front of the device.
The molecular sensor is a miniaturized version of the SCiO, a handheld molecular scanning device developed a couple of years ago by Israeli company Consumer Physics.
The sensor uses Near Infrared Spectroscopy to scan solids and liquids. The raw data is then put through cloud-based computational analysis to provide the final output. The technology is already widely used in functional neuroimaging, neonatal research and sports medicine, albeit at a significantly heftier price.