Food device knows whether that avocado is ripe

Invention gives food power to the people

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 8:17 am

WASHINGTON – A new food scanner device could revolutionize they way consumers look at their food.

An Israeli company called Consumer Physics is developing a hand-held spectrometer, called the SCiO, that can tell consumers how many calories are in the burger or milkshake they’re about to eat or even help them choose produce at the super market, says food lawyer Mary Beth Albright.

“It is so much more than a food scanner,” Albright tells WTOP.

Shine a light on a plate of restaurant food and it’ll send the ingredients, calories, protein content and other data to the users’ smartphone, she says.

The information will help those watching their waistlines and provide more information than what’s listed on a food label or provide more accurate information than restaurant nutrition details.

“Right now there is so much fighting over food labels,” she says. “What do you put on a food label? What is a serving size?”

The company has already generated $2.6 million through a Kickstarter campaign. And anyone who invests $200 in the company will have the chance to try a first-generation version of the device, which is limited to certain food categories.

The developers also want to allow other developers to add their own applications. For example a beer fermentation app could help at-home brewers, Albright says.

Or another application could tell the difference between counterfeit and genuine prescription pills.

Albright writes in-depth about the SCiO’s capabilities in National Geographic’s The Plate section.

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