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

By Shawn Knight · 15 replies
Apr 30, 2014
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  1. 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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  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    Great! Now we can learn to spot products that have been genetically altered and gives us unforeseen cancer.
    lmike6453 and wastedkill like this.
  3. Misagt

    Misagt TS Addict Posts: 150   +88

    First thing I thought was the Tricorder from star trek. Very cool.
    trgz likes this.
  4. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,995   +1,316

    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.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Hmmm...my birthday is coming up and this would make for a very cool toy present to myself. :D
  6. C18H21NO3•C4H6O6•2½H2O


    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?
    augustborn likes this.
  7. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 510   +152

    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.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    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.
  9. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    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.
  10. dms96960

    dms96960 TS Addict Posts: 297   +59

    The video clip is weird as it never actually shows any results.
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    Those must be scary ;)
  12. Would it be safe to scan urself?, since it would vibrate your molcules
  13. Egon Spengler

    Egon Spengler TS Rookie Posts: 19

    This is a consumer electronics example of snake oil.
  14. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    You're getting the wrong ideas.

    I wouldn't suggest vibrating this thing near molecules, might turn them sterile... ;)
  15. RebelFlag

    RebelFlag TS Addict Posts: 147   +78

    I love having my molecules vibrated. boy oh boy, I used to know this girl........
  16. Sunny87

    Sunny87 TS Enthusiast Posts: 115   +11

    Hmm this seems to be a trend with products on kickstarter!

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