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.

Digital Trends is live all week at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Check out our continuing coverage live on YouTube, Facebook, #DTces, and DigitalTrends.com/ces/.

Mobile

Doubts emerge over when LG will reveal its folding smartphone

LG may be working on a folding smartphone, making it the latest device manufacturer to be linked to the technology, which may become one of the standout designs of the coming year.
Smart Home

LG will announce partnerships at CES to help give you a smart kitchen

LG is announcing a number of partnerships that will help make kitchen appliances even smarter. It is working with Drop, the makers of Kitchen OS, to create a unified kitchen experience that will make cooking easy.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.