Pocket-sized molecular spectrometer can determine the chemical makeup of nearly anything in seconds

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,624   +139
Staff member
Have you ever come across something you couldn't immediately identify? I don't mean something like a song, barcode or QR code (there are already apps to help with that), but an actual physical item like a type of food, a...

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Posts: 3,131   +1,537
Not really as useful for identifying plants as the first paragraph might suggest :p

Compounds made of carbon, lots and lots of carbon. And carbon, thats everywhere. and lots of water. Did we mention glucose? oh yea, also a lot of DNA and proteins.

That is, if im understanding it right- its able to ID the literal chemical compounds, such as H20 or C6H12O6.


Posts: 3,320   +2,070
Hmmm...my birthday is coming up and this would make for a very cool toy present to myself. :D




So when I see this (above) for example as the chemical make up. Do I then need to access a Library to determine what the combination of chemicals maybe? Who provides the chemical Library to access?

Oh by the way this Chemical makeup sample above up would be what you get if you sample a Vicodin. But would the device identify it as a Vicodin in addition to chemical makeup?


Posts: 654   +309
First thing I thought was the Tricorder from star trek. Very cool.
Well it would have to use at least 3 types of sensing to be a Tricorder, right? So maybe technically we should call it a Unicorder? I guess not though, sounds like something involving a Unicorn. Epically misleading.


Posts: 8,645   +3,289
Cool. Samsung should scoop up this start up then they can introduce the gadget on their next flagship Galaxy instead of a heartbeat monitor of dubious value.


Posts: 6,035   +6,408
I'm skeptical about such device being any use for looking at edible products.

Most of things we know about and are warned to stay away from are by far a complex composition of chemicals. And for such device to just list separate chemicals won't tell you anything useful.

It might be handy to a chemist, just not to a food buyer.


Would it be safe to scan urself?, since it would vibrate your molcules