A new device for DIY'ers "SCiO"


I found this new device that has the possibility to scan your food or anything similar(powders) and we may be able to do a more precise recipe.


this can be a good technology for our community


And The kickstarted page


Wasn’t this proven to be a fraud?


How accurate are the results the device gives?
SCiO typically detects materials in concentrations of 1% or higher. Concentration levels of 0.1% or less may also be feasible for some materials. The exact specifications depend on the application and material being analyzed.

Sounds like it’ll won’t be measuring micro content directly. If it’s just estimation from a standard database I can look up nutrition info myself.


@ruipacheco That one hasn’t been proven yet, the TellSpec was. Still, I think the SCiO is a fraud too.


I just wanted to say… I love DNews! :smiley:


Developing a device that can analyze food components based on spectroscopy is research and has is a high risk to fail. When you back them you need to be clear that they might not succeed.

The biggest problem seems that those companies make claims that they are not capable of fulfilling. So while they might have the right intentions, they commit fraud by making over exaggerated claims.

I’d better wait. If one of them can make such a device, than I will definitely consider buying it.


it’s at leas an interesting product if it work, and if it gets out and work; that would be even better.

will wait and see


I’d be amazed if it works also. However, I have also heard of products that calculate calories based on photos of your food.

The main reason I can’t have a proper diet with ordinary food is the business of calorie and nutrient counting. My diet is just so unstandardized. I can look up nutritional standards for fast food (but I try to limit that), and the ready meals that I know are prepared in the kitchen of my local deli don’t have this information in numbers (which makes them better to eat but impossible to track).

The market that calorie / nutrient counts for random foods if it works would be huge.



Agree. If this device could do all it claims, companies that make Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) equipment would be all over them and probably have bought them out by now. NIRS is already used for testing milk, oil, pharmaceutical products (as they are being manufactured), amount of moisture and solvent content in a product, etc.

But it needs to be calibrated. Unless they have the worlds smartest NIR software, you can’t point this at something it’s never seen before and have it tell you “Yes, that avocado is ripe”. It’s never going to tell you “Yes, this is an extra-large egg and it is 30 days old and has exactly 85 calories.”.

Holding this by hand at different distances and different positions (sample presentation) to the product being measured will also cause issues.

It can tell you “Hmmm, this is supposed to be Olive Oil, but I’m not getting back the spectra I expect to see. It has a high level of impurities. I can see some of it is water (because it was programmed to detect water), but I can’t tell you what those other impurities are.”

It can tell you “Hmmm, you told me this was wheat flour. I can detect moisture levels because I was programmed and calibrated to.”. Oh opps, you live in Florida and it’s a hot and humid day. Measurements are based on specific laboratory calibrations, bias correction, standard error of calibration, standard error of cross validation, and coefficient of determination. Because your environment isn’t a match to the environment the calibration was done in, measurements will be off.

NIRS technique heavily relies on the use of chemometrics calibration and statistical analysis of data. I don’t see how this can be done with precision with a handheld device in the home or grocery store.


docent the cloud database come in to play in the precision of the device so it doesn’t need to be all big and clunky.
And was it not suposed to be able to tell the nutritional content of things based on the database?


Yes, which is one bit of load that is taken off the device’s tasks. The other thing they mention is that weight is a separate thing to be done on a scale. After that, it is supposed to be able to say “This is an apple, the user input .3 kg for weight and my database says the nutrient data is …”. However, even the “this is an apple” is challenging. Much more challenging is “this is Sobeys deli scalloped potatoes, and here are its data”. Now, I can see a design that is more elaborate that the Sobeys deli people would use in conjunction with their scales to do a fully printed out nutritional sheet. Maybe.



Here’s my problem with it. Let’s take a specific example that they use - identify a pill as “Bayer Aspirin”. OK, they solve any potential sample presentation errors by giving you a stand to place the pill in. That’s cool. Then they use the Near Infrared Spectroscopy device to scan the pill and tell you what it is. They can do this because the device and the “cloud database” strangely somehow seem to be able to communicate in just a few seconds to give you results. Hmmm.

In the real world this identification is done by the following:
An iron complex (and binders, fillers, dyes, drying agents, etc.) is added to the formulation of the Acetyl salicylic acid used in Bayer Aspirin. They use a specific amount to aid in spectrophotometry.
Next, the spectrophotometry device is calibrated by multiple iron-salicylate complex solutions of known concentration to help develop a calibration curve for the formula. The machine now has a standard solutions and Beer’s law calibration curve saved for the formula.

In the lab, when testing for a drug, the pill would be dissolved in distilled water, usually 100 mL. 5 standard solutions would then be created from the solution and tested on the spectrophotometer device and compared to the calibration curve saved for the formula.

So how does the SCiO do it? I assume that the company has scanned a bunch of Bayer Aspirin with the device and made a “cloud database” containing the data. If you scan a pill that matches their data, you get “Bayer Aspirin” back.

What if it’s a Tylenol with codine #3? If they have not scanned some and put it in their “cloud database”, it won’t be able to identify it. What if you found a scuffed up aspirin in your kids room on the dirty floor and what to figure it out? Probably not going to work due to the impurities from the floor. What if you want know the amount of Acetyl salicylic acid in the pill? You are only going to get the database info back with no exact formula.

Don’t get me wrong, If it works the way they say it will, this could have huge valuable impact in a number of industries. A cop would be able to identify an unknown substance (assuming it’s in the database) at a traffic stop. Vineyards would be able to tell the sugar content of a grape in seconds and know when to pick for optimal fermentation. While the wine was fermenting, you could tell the acid, sugar, and CO2 levels to know when to bottle.

You get served a drink and feel they were light on the Vodka? Pull this out and (assuming they have 1000s of saved data points for alcoholic drinks) it will show you the amount of alcohol.

I just have my doubts this will work beyond the “this is a nifty toy” level.


I like your cop example. A week or two ago, we had a coffee creamer panic attack in Edmonton here. They evacuated and closed down the Law Courts for a few hours because they thought they had anthrax on a mailed in parking ticket. There were four or five further attacks over the next couple of days including the University Hospital. I bet they would have been happy to have a machine that could tell the difference between coffee creamer and something dangerous (not that coffee creamer isn’t plenty evil).



if it worked, I would want it in my smartphone, as another step towards making tricorders.
if it worked.


You want a tricorder? Here is your first tricorder.