Consumer Physics' smartphone molecular scanner really works, and it's pretty cool

At CES, getting on the public Wi-Fi can be a bit of a pain. We found that out during Consumer Physics CEO Dror Sharon’s visit to the DigitalTrends booth Thursday afternoon. But through the connectivity issues, we at least saw a glimpse of how its molecular scanning technology works.

While the company has been working on the idea of getting what was once a $10,000 piece of equipment into something we can all afford since 2011, it’s only had a working prototype since 2014 in a handheld model. That device has only now made it to the pre-order stage (to ship in six to eight weeks), but Consumer Physics in partnership with Chinese electronics manufacturer Changhong is already taking the next step.

Meet the Changhong H2, the world’s first molecular scanning cellphone. On its own it’s a pretty impressive device, with a large six-inch screen and eight-core processor. But it’s that spectrometer — the fancy name for the molecular scanner — that is sure to impress most.

Spectrometers work by sending out a pulse of near-infrared light that causes materials in an object to vibrate. From the returned light, the exact material composition of an object can be obtained. There’s a lot of different uses for that, and soon third-parties will be able to develop their own sensing apps thanks to an SDK that will be available later this year.

Thanks to the finicky Wi-Fi, Sharon was only able to show us one of the many different possible uses for the scanner. On stage, he scanned a strawberry. Thanks to data in the cloud, the device returned back the exact sweetness of the strawberry, which Sharon joked would be helpful if you’re buying strawberries to feed to your significant other.

He even pointed out that Consumer Physics’ databases have enough data to verify the authenticity of medications. One of the most commonly counterfeited pills is Viagra, which Sharon had on hand — but the Wi-Fi didn’t cooperate (we can confirm later that it indeed was scanned as authentic, though).

No announcement has yet been made on the availability or pricing of the Changhong H2, but we can say with certainty that we’ll be taking a closer look at what is possibly one of the coolest devices coming out of CES 2017 in a lot more detail quite soon.

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