This $150 Spectrometer for Smartphones Can Measure Your Food’s Calories

Counting calories will be as simple as waving this magic spectrometer pen from Consumer Physics. The SCiO will only cost you $150 – small penance if you like welding a magic pen when dieting.

SCiO includes a light source that illuminates the sample and an optical sensor called a spectrometer that collects the light reflected from the sample. The spectrometer breaks down the light to its spectrum, which includes all the information required to detect the result of this interaction between the illuminated light and the molecules in the sample.

Near-infrared spectroscopy can read calories because light bouncing from objects varies depending on the material content. An apple, for example, can send back a different light reading from ice cream even if they are both red. The SCiO isn’t just limited to dietary readings.

Out of the box, when you get your SCiO, you’ll be able to analyze food, plants, and medications.

For example, you can:

  • Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.
  • See how ripe an Avocado is, through the peel!
  • Find out the quality of your cooking oil.
  • Know the well being of your plants.
  • Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions.
  • Authenticate medications or supplements.
  • Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to our database. Even yourself !


SCiO’s makers are raising funds via Kickstarter. If you donate $300 you can receive app downloads for the next two years.

Publish date: April 30, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT