Israelis Develop World’s First Molecular Sensor That Can Scan Almost Anything

January 6, 2016

2 min read

More than twenty years ago when Damian Goldring and Dror Sharon first became friends, they never imagined that they would help produce a technological breakthrough that looks as though it will dramatically impact the year of 2016.

The pair, who studied together at the Technion in Haifa, developed SCiO, the world’s first molecular sensor that scans the chemical makeup of materials and sends the information directly to a smartphone.

Powered by Consumer Physics, SciO, enables any person to ascertain the molecular and chemical design of almost any physical object or material including food, medicine, and more. By simply pointing the device at any given object, users will receive information ranging from the molecular design of living room furniture to the facts about our nutritional intake.

For example, during grocery shopping, SCiO can be used to detect the amount of sugar in a piece of fruit or check to see if an avocado is ripe or not. It can verify the level of fat content in cheese and exactly how many calories are consumed during dinner.

Goldring, the co-founder of the company, said in an interview with TPS that he and Sharon were inspired to develop this revolutionary device by the necessity to learn more about the physical world.

“We started the company almost five years ago because we knew that people wanted to know more about their lives, like their health and food. We really don’t know much about what we eat so we came up with spectrocity technology that analyses materials using optics. Google doesn’t do the job because it is too generic and is not applicable to the actual object in front of you,” Goldring said.

While such technology has in fact been available for a few years, Goldring told TPS that its mass use had been hindered by its high costs, large machinery requirements and its consequences restrictions to laboratories.

The company, based in Hod Hasharon, developed its first and second prototype at the end of 2013 and 2014 respectively after bagging an impressive $3 million from over 13,000 backers during a successful kick-start campaign.

Since April 2015, thousands of such devices have been delivered to developers and backers in over 120 countries. However, according to Goldring, regular consumers can expect in the early months of 2016 to be able to download an application onto their smartphones. “This way it is not just developers, researchers and companies who can check things. Regular people will be able to check food and medicine and simply explore the world before their eyes.”

He further elaborated on why utilizing the application will require owning the device itself. “The device will communicate with the phone and the phone will communicate with our service center which has all the information technology. That information will then be translated back to the user,” he told TPS.

Goldring, who moved to Israel from Argentina as a young boy, holds a PhD from Tel Aviv University and specializes in electro-optics while Sharon, a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, manages the business aspect of the company. Together, they have assembled a diverse professional staff consisting of 65 science and management experts set on improving the quality of everyday life for people.

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