The Pocket-Size SCiO Could Tell You If Your Drugs Are Pure
At CES, Consumer Physics is demonstrating its SCiO molecular scanner. It's a lightweight Bluetooth accessory the size of a lighter that uses near-infrared spectroscopy to determine the exact molecular makeup of items it's pointed at. The company has an active network of developers creating a variety of apps that work with the device to address different use cases. Available apps include personal nutrition tools and commercial pill verification. However some third-party developers are working on apps that could use the device to determine the purity of illicit drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy).
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The device is simple and lightweight, includes a carrying case, and charges via a micro-USB connector. It communicates with any Android or iOS phone using Bluetooth LE.
The Changhong H2 is a smartphone currently available in China that has the SCiO technology built right in.
We tried several demos, including a test of the sweetness of a strawberry, and detection of a fake Viagra pill. It was very simple to use and worked quickly, taking just a couple of seconds to measure and report results.
A number of developers working in harm reduction are working on apps to detect the purity of street drugs. Harm reduction is a movement in the medical community to help people who can't or won't stop using illicit drugs.
It's not difficult to imagine an ecstasy user using an SCiO to test the purity of the drug. Ecstasy is often laced with impurities or drugs other than MDMA.
Other developers are exploring the possibility of using SCiO to evaluate the purity of herion and meth. These drugs make the news all too often when a "bad batch" goes around, sometimes with deadly results.
The device costs $300. An app-development kit that includes a device runs $500.
What good is a pill detector that can only identify a pill that has already been detected previously? What if its a mixture of drugs, like in a powder? Or a substance they havent loaded into the database?