This is a place where exciting things happen, so let’s put on our white coats and take a quick tour.
We’ll start with a fun quiz. What do currency bills, apples, body fat, and animal feed all have in common? Give up? They are all materials that the lab at Consumer Physics is currently scanning to populate the NIR database in order to build and improve chemometric models for SCiO.
With a diverse group of highly trained scientists and a number of interns, all with advanced degrees in the fields of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and nutrition, the lab tests thousands of samples every week.
What makes our work so exciting? We learn from our customers, we listen to the market, we create trends, and we have the BEST production team to develop applications. How do we do it? We start with initial research focussing on two main goals, one to determine potential areas that can benefit from portable NIR spectroscopy with a view to exploring which new applications will be beneficial for industry and consumers, and the other following specific customer requests for a model. Once the research has been concluded the team gets to work collecting samples, validating data and, before handing over to the application team, working on the final quality assurance process.
Do scientists and rock music make good chemistry? They do indeed! The dynamic Consumer Physics scientists find it easy to jump between the many different challenges, while moving to the beat of this week’s current favorite rockers, The Stone Roses!
Utilizing the latest spectroscopes, centrifuges, a cold room, sensitive measuring devices, pipettes, and beakers, everything is on hand in the state-of-the-art laboratory. An average Monday in the lab will see the team working on multiple projects. Currently, one team is working on the area of animal feed and nutrition, whilst a second is focussing on personal wellness, improving the already existing model that measures the percentage of body fat and lean body mass. Another team is focussed on various food applications – fresh meat and dairy products, fruit and vegetables and, a firm favorite, chocolate! And it doesn’t end there, yet another team is building a pharmaceuticals database to complement and extend our over-the-counter pill model.
In order for us to build a good chemometric model, the Consumer Physics lab scans hundreds of individual samples using SCiO. The same samples are simultaneously scanned with a standard industrial benchtop spectrometer, or in the case of our body composition app, with a gold-standard DEXA machine, and the results are then compared and validated. The spectra are stored in our cloud-based database allowing instant access to validated results for scanned materials.
And working in the lab is never dull. One day the lab may look and smell like a green grocer as fruits and vegetables are scanned . The next day, the lab techs may spend the day off-site scanning various currencies. And on another day the lab may look like a pharmacy as pills of all shapes and sizes are tested and evaluated as we work on building a counterfeit pill database.
And what, you may ask, makes the Consumer Physics lab such a successful and fun place to work? The answer’s easy. The dedicated, professional team of scientists, the exciting, innovative environment, and the feeling that we are constantly pushing new boundaries in the field of revolutionary NIR spectroscopy!