Very cool, a molecular-level search engine that works via a tiny spectroscopy sensor which syncs with your phone…

In a live demo at … London’s Tobacco Dock, WIRED saw the lighter-sized sensor scan a Viagra pill and create a chemical fingerprint that was sent, via Bluetooth, to a smart phone. The phone then connected to a ‘database of matter’ in the cloud and verified that the pill was, indeed, Viagra.”

SCiO is now shipping its developer kits, having been in development since 2014 using £1.7m from Kickstarter. The proposed $150 price point makes it potentially useful, I’d guess, in helping small retailers in the fight against food origin fraud (“is it really a Californian plum, or actually from former rainforest land in Paraguay?”), detecting illegal wildlife products (“fur, or fake?”), and perhaps even for art conservation (“what exactly is that odd 18th century material we need to conserve?”).

Perhaps also useful for mis-labelled museum Herbarium specimens, of which there are possibly a great many.

The “world’s first database of matter” doesn’t appear to be formally CC open access via a geolocated Google map (though that sort of “What Stuff Is Where?” website will no doubt come in time, and would be especially useful if the sensor could be made to work as a mobile sensor of air-quality or if the site could show rolling plant-testing results from a group of farmers or citizen ecologists). For now it’s more of an open platform

SCiO Developers have access to any database uploaded to our servers that was made public by its owners and are encouraged to create their own new and exciting models and mobile applications based on the database.”