clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Watch: A Tiny Device Ensures You'll Never Buy Underripe Fruit Again

It can also tell you the nutritional content of foods

An Israel-based startup is working to disrupt the old-fashioned way of shopping for produce with its new device, the SCiO. In a new Bloomberg video, Consumer Physics founder Dror Sharon demonstrates the device, which scans material objects and sends information about them to a users' smartphone. Squeezing avocados to determine their ripeness, for instance, could be replaced with the push of a button.

Scan a tomato, and the device will reveal the calorie and fat content of that specific tomato — so you could, in effect, scan multiple tomatoes to find one that's just right. The sensor, which has already raised more than $2 million via Kickstarter, works like a standard spectrometer, albeit one that can fit on a keychain — scanning physical objects to determine their properties. Even man-made items — like the processed cheese treat known as Velveeta — aren't immune to the SCiO's abilities.

Of course, the device could be useful for activities other than grocery shopping — detecting fillers in fuel, for example, or determining the right time to plant a crop by examining soil. Sharon speculates the healthcare industry might find it useful, too, and says in the video it could be put to use for clinical trials of medicines.

Unfortunately it seems Consumer Physics has run into some intellectual property issues; its Kickstarter campaign, which had raised more than $2 million, has been taken down, and meanwhile some have speculated that SCiO's technology isn't quite all it's cracked up to be. Still, a keychain-sized device to ensure you can make guacamole today instead of sometime next week would be awfully handy.

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day