This week I read about a new smartphone introduced at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas that can scan your lunch and tell you what it is thanks to a built-in sensor which can analyze the chemical makeup of whatever it scans.
Think of the possibilities. Not only can it scan fruits and vegetables, it could tell you how ripe they are. Or, scan yourself and get a BMI (body mass index reading). Or, scan your medicine to see if it’s fake or not. That one is ironic because so much fake medicine comes from China and it’s a Chinese company that provides a smartphone and scanner that can tell you whether the medicine is fake or not.
Anybody see a problem there?
Regardless, a smartphone that can scan your food and give you specific information as to quality, ripeness, or even the caloric content seems like it’s made for the U.S. market. The phone is the Changhong H2 and it uses a special molecular scanner that was introduced at CES 2016. The scanner itself uses a near-infrared spectrometer which beats a light at whatever you want to scan, and an app analyzes the spectrum reflection and attempts to identify the object’s chemical makeup.
It’s unlikely that iPhone customers will ditch Apple’s latest darling just to have a device that measures the sugar content in strawberries but you get the idea. Scanners are the future. What I want to see is an iPhone and an app that can scan a plate of food, analyze the contents and tell me how many calories are in each portion; preferably with a filter so I can turn off the mashed potatoes smothered in butter, a personal favorite.
The iPhone has plenty of calorie counting applications but each of those requires physical, manual effort to select a food, adjust a portion, etc., and that slows down the eating process. We can’t have that, now can we?
The Changhong H2 smartphone isn’t likely to become a big seller, either in China or the U.S. or elsewhere, but a smartphone with such a built-in scanner could become the darling of drug lords and backstreet dealers and buyers who just want to make sure the supply chain is working appropriately and delivering the goods expected.
Think of scanners as the future of smartphones and wearables. Apple Watch already scans your wrist and delivers a rather accurate heart rate. Similar small scanners are used on fingertips at doctor’s offices and hospitals, and other scanners can determine blood pressure and blood sugar. How far away are we from a scanner on our iPhones that can view our eyes and make other health related determinations based upon a late night out with friends where too much alcohol was consumed?
The idea behind any scanner is to give us information that helps and improves our lives. Today we have cars that not only warn drivers who stray into another lane but also stop cars before we know there’s a reason to stop. Scanners are the future of our electronic devices and Apple needs to be working in that direction because I want an iPhone that can scan dinner and tell me how much to eat before I go over my daily allowance. Of course, it will need some manual override options.