The ubiquity of smartphones has perpetuated creative thinking and an amazing number of advancements in mobile technology. The vast continuum of purposes for smartphone cameras and camera attachments has been consistently growing, widening recently to include advanced applications such as thermal imaging and spectrometry. This year, a few cutting edge companies have revealed some news in these up-and-coming areas of innovation.
Thermal detection is a burgeoning area, in which Seek Thermal and Flir Systems, for example, are thriving by producing cameras that send real-time thermal imaging to a smartphone. Seek Thermal recently updated its thermal camera to include a manual focus lens to enable focus on anything from 8 inches to 2,000 feet away. Flir Systems updated to its Flir One to be less bulky and work with Android or iOS systems. The thermal images show people and objects with colors representing relative temperature, and can be used for detecting heat leaks in a building, electrical problems, or wildlife.
Another product, the SCiO, is a Bluetooth-connected device that will tell you what it is pointing at, on a molecular level. Developed by Consumer Physics, its first major applications are in pharmaceuticals, food, and plant hydration. It aims to detect the nutritional quality of food and the difference between real and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. It performs these feats by using a built-in spectrometer to detect and analyze the molecular makeup of an object. When the data is uploaded to a cloud server, it is then compared against a database of results. Because the price of sensors has decreased drastically, and the company has raised over $2.5 million in funds on Kickstarter, they will be offering the SCiO for a very reasonable price of about $250 for a research-level product. The SCiO falls loosely into the growing category called the Internet of Things, the networking of the physical world within existing internet infrastructure.