The Power and Pitfalls of Omics: George Davey Smith’s storming talk at ME/CFS conference
Read about the talk that stole the show at a recent ME/CFS conference in Simon McGrath's two-part blog.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

New smartphone uses infrared molecular scanning to distinguish real drugs from fakes

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Hip, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,342
    Likes:
    14,619
    The new Changhong H2 smartphone has a built in infrared molecular scanner which can distinguish real pharmaceutical drugs from fakes. This molecular scanner device is called the SCiO, and works by near infrared spectroscopy.

    The video at the bottom of this article about the Changhong H2 smartphone shows the phone distinguishing a real Viagra pill from a fake Viagra pill, by means of the phone's built in SCiO molecular scanner.

    This article says that:
    The idea is that developers will write lots more apps to expand SCiO's capabilities.



    The SCiO molecular scanner is also available for sale at $299 as an add-on device which works with existing smartphones (iPhone or Android).

    SCiO Molecular Scanner Identifying Spices
    SCiO molecular scanner.png


    The video on this page of the SCiO website shows the SCiO molecular scanner device measuring the quality and ripeness of fruit in the supermarket, measuring the percentage fat level in your body, and distinguishing real pharmaceutical tablets from fake pharmaceuticals.

    On the business version of the website, they detail SCiO potential use in the pharmaceutical industry and in hospitals for validating pharmaceutical drugs: see here and here.


    Note that near infrared spectroscopy machines are normally the size of a microwave oven or larger; the SCiO is the first near infrared spectroscopy device small enough to fit into a mobile phone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
    Emootje, Lolinda, ebethc and 2 others like this.
  2. undiagnosed

    undiagnosed Senior Member

    Messages:
    219
    Likes:
    330
    United States
    Interesting, a device like this would definitely be useful when forced to resort to getting drugs from questionable sources. I don't know much about infrared spectrometry, but from my quick searching found a couple of useful bits of information. On this site which studies counterfeit pharmaceutical detection using similar (higher end) devices, they are able to discriminate pretty well. They scan the spectrum of a known legitimate drug in question and then compute how similar the spectrum of the item being scanned is to the genuine drug spectrum. For the SCiO, there has been some concern for how accurate the device actually is. It appears that the spectrum it generates would be relatively low resolution which could make it less capable of discriminating between drugs. Also, it didn't appear to give any data regarding the spectral match confidence.
     
    Hip likes this.
  3. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,342
    Likes:
    14,619
    I was discussing this SCiO device last year with a scientist/technician who works with near infrared spectroscopy (on another forum). He was rather skeptical that the team at Consumer Physics, the Israeli start-up company that developed the SCiO, would be able to get it to work (but said he was prepared to eat his words on this).

    Near infrared spectroscopy shines near infrared light into a material sample, and then detects the absorption spectrum (which wavelengths of light are absorbed by the material). Each chemical has its own absorption spectrum fingerprint, so using this fingerprint, you can tell which chemicals are present. For example, the infrared absorption spectrum of alcohol (ethanol) is shown below:

    Near infrared absorption spectrum fingerprint of ethanol
    Ethanol_near_IR_spectrum.png

    In the articles I read about this SCiO device, they were saying that it should be able to tell you, for example, the percentage ethanol in your drink, or tell you whether the melon you are considering buying in the supermarket is ripe, based on its percentage sugar content.

    I understand it gets complicated though when there are multiple chemical compounds present in the same material, because it is hard to untangle the superimposed absorption spectrums for each compound.

    Consumer Physics also said that the SCiO would not be able to detect chemical compounds that were only present in low amounts in the sample, like less than one or two percent.


    This product has been some time in the making: I first read about the SCiO in this 2014 Wired article.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  4. undiagnosed

    undiagnosed Senior Member

    Messages:
    219
    Likes:
    330
    United States
    I'd be interested to see a performance comparison against higher end scientific devices. I was looking at the Consumer Physics website and saw that the SCiO app includes SpectroScan with which you can scan an object and receive its molecular fingerprint on your smartphone. You can compare your scans in the app to find the molecular differences and similarities between materials. It doesn't specify if the fingerprint is the raw spectrum data or not.
     
    MastBCrazy and Hip like this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page