New microchip could bring portable spectroscopy to iPhone, Apple Watch

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in iPhone
Si-Ware on Tuesday revealed an iPhone-compatible spectroscopy chip, the NeoSpectra Micro, which could potentially expand the uses of both mobile devices and wearables in areas like health, science, and nutrition.




The company is demonstrating an iPhone case with the chip that can analyze food and drinks for things like caffeine and gluten levels, according to Digital Trends. Because the chip measures only 18-by-18 millimeters, it could be conceivably be built directly into phones and wearables, in the latter case scanning for factors like glucose levels.

Spectroscopy involves analyzing the wavelengths absorbed and emitted by materials, giving a glimpse at their chemical composition.

Si-Ware is said to be marketing the Micro directly to device manufacturers, planning mass production for the fourth quarter of the year. Developers should have access to units with the next month or two. The company is hoping that spectrometers will eventually become a common feature of consumer electronics, much like accelerometers and gyroscopes.




The Micro does cost $100, however, likely making it impractical to build into a product like Apple's iPhone without jacking up prices, at least in the the chip's current incarnation.

Apple has sometimes been rumored as wanting more advanced biometrics sensors on the Apple Watch, going beyond the motion and heartrate sensors found on current models. A recent report, however, hinted that Apple is dropping those ambitions for a third-generation model, instead focusing on a faster processor and better battery life.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 621member
    didn't some clown just say phone innovation was over at a conference recently 
    caliStrangeDaysdoozydozenwatto_cobrapalominejbdragonJdmr1701
  • Reply 2 of 23
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 237member
    Cool, iTricorder!
    mike1StrangeDaysSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,794member
    NY1822 said:
    didn't some clown just say phone innovation was over at a conference recently 
    Sounds like a clown would say that. in 10,000 years we'll probably have teleportation and walking through walls and all sorts of stuff we consider fantasy now. As for phones or watches the amount of things left to do with them is more than the things they do now, from holographic projection to all kinds of health monitoring etc. Just getting started. The key for devices going forward is that if they don't improve your life in some way then they shouldn't' exist.
    watto_cobraJdmr1701
  • Reply 4 of 23
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,179member
    So many potential applications. Forgetting about any Regulatory approvals for the moment, could be built in a device or more likely external items like hats, wrist bands, watch bands, patches, shoes, headbands, standalone devices (think Tricorder). All depends on what you need to collect data about.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,665member
    How great would it be if your watch could be used to monitor blood glucose levels on an ongoing basis? 

    The challenge, of course, is that such a function would necessarily be regulated as a medical device, and would have to be tested and approved for use on a schedule not particularly compatible with the hardware release cycle for an all-in-one device like the Apple watch. You can compound that complexity with independent approval processes in multiple national jurisdictions. You could imagine a scenario where the components are quietly built into a given model release of the watch and then miraculously turned on with much fanfare in an OS update. Otherwise the medical testing and approvals would hold all other hardware advances hostage. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    farmboyfarmboy Posts: 152member
    AppleZulu said:
    How great would it be if your watch could be used to monitor blood glucose levels on an ongoing basis? 

    The challenge, of course, is that such a function would necessarily be regulated as a medical device,...
    Everything you say is correct, as things currently stand, and rightly so. You can't have people relying on their watch for critical health information if the device providing it is not safe, effective, and consistently reliable.

    The good news is that I believe the rapid state of improvement of such software and hardware make such medicalized devices universally acceptable (over-the-counter) in 10 years. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 7 of 23
    I'd wager $100 that the most common use for this chip in a mobile device will be to test the purity of cocaine.
    bobroodoozydozenGeorgeBMacpalomineJdmr1701
  • Reply 8 of 23
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    AppleZulu said:
    How great would it be if your watch could be used to monitor blood glucose levels on an ongoing basis? 

    The challenge, of course, is that such a function would necessarily be regulated as a medical device, 
    Not necessarily. You can buy a dog that can detect when your glucose is out of acceptable range and I'm pretty sure the dog is not regulated by the FDA. I think it all depends on how the feature is marketed and what claims you are making.
    GeorgeBMacpalomine
  • Reply 9 of 23
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 621member
    ireland said:
    NY1822 said:
    didn't some clown just say phone innovation was over at a conference recently 
    Sounds like a clown would say that. in 10,000 years we'll probably have teleportation and walking through walls and all sorts of stuff we consider fantasy now. As for phones or watches the amount of things left to do with them is more than the things they do now, from holographic projection to all kinds of health monitoring etc. Just getting started. The key for devices going forward is that if they don't improve your life in some way then they shouldn't' exist.Thiel sat down for a quick and dirty Q&A session with Maureen Dowd of The New York Timeswhere he fired off a number of impromptu answers to a wide array of questions. When the topic of conversation turned to Apple, Dowd asked Thiel if he would confirm or deny that “the age of Apple is over.”


    PETER THIEL said it:

    Thiel responded in the affirmative.

    “We know what a smartphone looks like and does,” Thiel said. “It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation.”

    http://bgr.com/2017/01/12/iphone-innovation-peter-thiel-apple-interview/

    edited January 2017
  • Reply 10 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    My God!

    a tiny chip that measures glucose and caffeine by analyzing wavelengths?

    We're living in the future. 
    StrangeDaysdoozydozenpalomine
  • Reply 11 of 23
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,076member
    Not sure what you mean by "Tiny"?
    It's about the same size as all the chips in the watch combined.

    Cool yes, but going into anything other than a specialised device anytime soon no.
    doozydozen
  • Reply 12 of 23
    cali said:
    My God!

    a tiny chip that measures glucose and caffeine by analyzing wavelengths?

    We're living in the future. 

    My reaction was "that's a HUGE chip" to slip into an iPhone or Watch, but agreed the functionality is impressive.  Just like gyroscopes and accelerometers, I expect this will get teeny tiny sooner rather than later.
    calidoozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    AppleZulu said:
    How great would it be if your watch could be used to monitor blood glucose levels on an ongoing basis? 

    The challenge, of course, is that such a function would necessarily be regulated as a medical device, and would have to be tested and approved for use on a schedule not particularly compatible with the hardware release cycle for an all-in-one device like the Apple watch. You can compound that complexity with independent approval processes in multiple national jurisdictions. You could imagine a scenario where the components are quietly built into a given model release of the watch and then miraculously turned on with much fanfare in an OS update. Otherwise the medical testing and approvals would hold all other hardware advances hostage. 

    I expect that the first generation or two or products will be add-on devices which will be fully regulated medical devices (and be relatively expensive).  Then it'll be baked into general purpose devices when proven and economical.
    doozydozen
  • Reply 14 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,794member
    mattinoz said:
    Not sure what you mean by "Tiny"?
    It's about the same size as all the chips in the watch combined.

    Cool yes, but going into anything other than a specialised device anytime soon no.
    Depends of what a chip does. A chip this size that does this at $100 wasn't imaginable 10 years ago. I'll hold off on judgement until I hear more.
    edited January 2017 mattinozcali
  • Reply 15 of 23
    It looks like it could fit into an Apple Watch band.

    Something like this could be useful in detecting rat poo, which might be mixed into that Seafood Surprise dish at Andy's Fish Place down by the wharf. 
  • Reply 16 of 23
    Thanks for this bright, optimistic news on a day when our environment is taking a beating with mere signatures,
  • Reply 17 of 23
    bobroo said:
    Thanks for this bright, optimistic news on a day when our environment is taking a beating with mere signatures,
    I'm assuming you are upset about the potential pipeline environmental issues. Technology like this will help.

    This chip could empower millions of people to know exactly what is in their consumable water, marshes, rivers, oceans, food, etc.

    If a government or corporation does cheat the public like they did in the Flynt Michigan water crisis then those officials will be caught, convicted and thrown into prison for many years. Poisining and shortening the lifespan of thousands of people is tantamount to mass murder. 

    There are additinal use cases where this technology will be useful. Food is a huge one: abnormal amounts of pesticides in fruits and vegtables, rotten eggs, etc. How about inconsistent or out-of-date prescription medicine, or unregulated vitamins?

    Spectrometers built into mobile devices will help keep officials, pharmacists and corporate officers honest, and improve the quality of life on Earth. It's a huge step in the right direction.
    bobroocalidoozydozenrandominternetpersonpalomine
  • Reply 18 of 23

    i'm 72 which gives me a long list of conditions that can benefit from advanced sensors in an iPhone or Apple Watch.        

    While sensors for pulseox or glucose is needed I believe that sensors for chemical levels that can help determine the needed  medications.  Ewe see the start of that now where generic testing can help determine the best treatment.   Expand that to a wide range of conditions and you have an explosive  potential of a market.                                                                                                                                                   
    GeorgeBMacpalomine
  • Reply 19 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    cali said:
    My God!

    a tiny chip that measures glucose and caffeine by analyzing wavelengths?

    We're living in the future. 

    My reaction was "that's a HUGE chip" to slip into an iPhone or Watch, but agreed the functionality is impressive.  Just like gyroscopes and accelerometers, I expect this will get teeny tiny sooner rather than later.
    Oops I understood it as being smaller. still impressive 

    I was thinking this could be embedded in an iPhone. 
  • Reply 20 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,577member
    volcan said:
    AppleZulu said:
    How great would it be if your watch could be used to monitor blood glucose levels on an ongoing basis? 

    The challenge, of course, is that such a function would necessarily be regulated as a medical device, 
    Not necessarily. You can buy a dog that can detect when your glucose is out of acceptable range and I'm pretty sure the dog is not regulated by the FDA. I think it all depends on how the feature is marketed and what claims you are making.
    I'd wager the word 'regulation' used in conjunction with any Government protection agency, still standing that is,  will soon be a thing of the past.
    palomine
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