Those of you following us for a while probably noticed a newly added “SCiO for Business” section on our website. And some of you have been asking us what a cool molecular sensor has to do with industry; with advanced manufacturing, food production, modern agriculture, manufacturing quality control and the pharmaceutical industry.
So here’s the story: a few years ago we set out to build the world’s first molecular sensor – a pocket sized spectrometer that could provide the same performance as a full sized bench spectrometer. We wanted it to be small, affordable, provide excellent performance, and be super easy to use. We set to build it so everyone could buy it and use it to analyze materials; to know the nutrition and quality of the food they eat, to detect fake drugs; to be able to choose the best fruit in the store; and in general to learn about the physical world around them. Just like an expert spectroscopy team only easy, cheap and portable.
Spectroscopy experts explained – very scientifically – why it couldn’t be done. Other people loved the idea and wanted one of their own; so we just went on and built it. We managed to build and invent a totally new category of product – the pocket molecular sensor.
And then, as orders for SCiO were pouring in from consumers, we understood that this is not only a great tool for consumers to understand materials. It’s actually a fully functional, easy to use, really low cost spectrometer. And that this is an extremely useful thing for anyone who’s using a spectrometer in the lab, or anyone who couldn’t afford one, or anyone who found these expensive scientific tools too complex to use.
Spectrometers have been used for a long time in many industries. The problem is that traditional spectrometers are bulky; they’re expensive; and they require deep expertise to operate. Even so called “Portable” spectrometers are bulky and very costly so most people won’t risk taking a $15K unit out to the farm or the production line. Insufficient and infrequent analysis of materials leads to wasted money and expensive mistakes
So a few months ago we started to work with some of the world’s biggest businesses to enable distributed and easy to use material sensing. We’re finding out that when you empower anyone in the organization to analyze materials in real time and at an affordable cost you get unexpected benefits throughout the organization. Here are a few areas that started to happen:
Pharmacies are devising ways to identify fake medications – a significant problem plaguing the pharmaceutical industry all over the world. It’s now very easy to identify these and prevent their potentially devastating impact.
Animal growers are pushing the analysis of animal feed down to the field worker. Growers are now checking the humidity level in forage and optimizing the amount of protein they feed livestock in the field in real time. This frequent and accurate analysis of feed results in very significant financial benefits and cost savings.
Manufacturers are using SCiO to analyze incoming materials frequently and thoroughly. By doing this they’re preventing costly errors and saving millions of dollars annually. Other manufacturers are checking materials during the manufacturing process and easily performing quality control on end-product.
These are just a few examples. It’s a very exciting time for us because we’re discovering new ways to help our customers and improve their operations on a daily basis. So moving forward we’ll use this blog to update you on these new uses people are finding for rapid material analysis, on new product features, and really on anything else that’s worth sharing. We hope you’ll find this blog as useful as using a micro spectrometer.