Food and Beverage Technology

SalivaScanner scans salads, sandwiches, soup for spit

If an order placed at a restaurant isn’t to one’s liking, there’s always the recourse of complaining or sending it back. Letting the food out of sight, however, leaves it open for all kinds of potential revenge if one has been something less than a gracious guest.

Tpatent-claimedhe SalivaScanner from San Diego-based Klein Electronics is a handheld device that scans food and can detect certain enzymes that are only found in human saliva. The company’s CEO notes that detecting saliva in one’s food has become more important than ever because Ebola can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids. The scanner’s LCD will indicate if there is saliva in food and, if so, how much. An accompanying Android and iOS app will display more details and track data including the location of the incident and potentially report it to social media sites. No pricing for the device is listed at the Kickstarter campaign and none of the three rewards for pledges that are listed include the device itself. But Klein says the target price is $199. He is looking to raise $85,000 in order to finish developing the product.

The device might have some appeal as a novelty. But using the Ebola outbreak to help sell the device borders on fear mongering. And consumers who are so paranoid that they need to scan their food for saliva would likely be better off not eating out at all, or at least consider complaining to restaurant staff in a more civil way.


WorldPenScan X gives you the power to scan, translate by pen

Instant translation of foreign languages to native ones is a luxury commonly thought impossible. Imagine being able to translate a menu written in Japanese into English while sitting in a restaurant in Japan. The new WorldPenScan X digital pen for scanning and translating from Fremont, California-based PenPower USA does exactly that.

Using Bluetooth 4.0, the device recognizes multiple languages, barcodes and bank fonts, and will immediately translate and edit items in multiple applications. Recognized languages include Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. The user can transmit the digitized data to an iOS device or Mac or Windows PC computer. Backers who pledge $99 as part of a Kickstarter special will get a WorldPenScan X when it ships in April 2015. That’s $70 less than the expected $169 retail price. PenPower is looking to raise $30,000 by the end of January. The same company’s WorldPenScan BT sells on in a similar price range, but doesn’t support iOS.

If it works as seamlessly as its campaign video claims, WorldPenScan X could be an appealing product for many consumers. However, some will likely feel that free apps available on their mobile devices already perform the same basic tasks using their built-in cameras. PenPower points out that several steps are required when using a mobile device’s camera to scan and translate. Sometimes, if the ambient light isn’t good enough, that could severely impact the recognition accuracy of the camera. In conclusion, WorldPenScan X will have to work flawlessly, especially when it comes to translating, for consumers to see the device as worthy of their time and money.

Health and Wellness

UVIO skin scanner seeks out precancerous conditions

Unfortunately, the rate of skin cancer worldwide increases year after year, which is why getting a routine screening is highly recommended. Oddly enough, though, the jury is still out on how effective screenings are. Although they consist of a visual inspection by a trained physician, even trained physicians sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between benign skin irregularities and early forms of skin cancer.

One of the main reasons why it can be so difficult to positively detect skin cancers is because the signs that need to be found can exist underneath the skin, below what can be seen. Monarch Med is looking to ease the difficulties of skin cancer screening with their precancerous dermis scanner called UVIO. The product is a tube-shaped device outfitted with a camera that can take ultraviolet, infrared, and electro-optical images, a combination of imagery the company claims can greatly increase the success physicians can achieve in detecting cancerous cells. A Bluetooth, memory card, and a cabled USB version are being created in order to make the scanning technology available to a wider range of people at varying price points. The campaign is looking for $118,000 to begin production but there aren’t actual products to purchase as of yet.


Tech Accessories

Zcan cans the wires, scans as a wireless mouse

The Premise. In a world of hard copies and clutter, sometimes it can be tough to get organized. Scanners (and shredders) greatly contribute to the cleanliness cause, but are not very convenient for a population that is forever multitasking and constantly on the go.

The Product. Zcan is a small, portable scanner that doubles as a computer mouse. With a quick zigzag motion, you can scan all or parts of a document, image, or chart and using a Wi-Fi connection, instantly send to your laptop or tablet. Scan documents in another language and Zcan will use the Google Translate service to translate for you in up to 199 languages. Create searchable documents from the hard copies around your house, scan and directly edit tables or text, and back up important documents on the go.

The Pitch. A quick video demonstrates how seamlessly Zcan can work with your laptop or tablet. Different applications are discussed including scanning tables and text to edit them, planning a more customized trip itinerary, and sharing scanned content immediately to social media. The campaign is looking to raise $30,000 in one month’s time. Other information on the campaign page includes a demo of someone scanning information, the product development process, timeline and expected hurdles.

The Perks. Regular retail price of Zcan is estimated to be $160 according to the campaign site. Two categories of Early Birds will receive a Zcan wireless scanning mouse for either $79 or $99, depending on how early they really are. From there rewards escalate to $1,580 for the Wholesaler package of 20 Zcans at once.

The Potential. There have been several wireless scanner mouse products to launch in the recent months so Zcan will have to distinguish itself to stick around. Canon has a very similar product in the market today for $89, however Zcan’s ability to scan selected part of a document is unique. Other options like LG’s LSM-100 allow you to scan a specific portion of a page, but it is not a wireless option. Being simple and intuitive along with small, wireless and relatively inexpensive, the Zcan may just find its place in our soft-copy raging world.

Connected Objects Tablet Accessories

PocketScan lets you capture anything on a page with a quick swipe

The Premise. In order to really kill the desktop computer off once and for all, mobile devices need to be able to do everything their lumbering, clunky big brothers can handle. In recent years that’s come to include lightweight solutions for full keyboards and even printing.  The next hurdle to overcome is scanning.

The Product. PocketScan is a handheld device no bigger than a computer mouse that can be used to skim across any surface and immediately have it display on a tablet or computer. What’s better is that these scans can be instantly edited if text is detected in any language, and translation options are available for foreign documents as well. Because the device is hand-sized and requires movement, the PocketScan can even be used to scan very large items that would not normally fit inside of a scanner.

The Pitch. Dacuda, creator of the PocketScan, show off the versatility and simplicity of the device by showing consumers using it to scan menus, photos, business reports, and everything else including a set of lips! While the video glosses over a lot of the technical details in order to offer up a short and sweet video that captures the device’s wow factor, plenty of space is given in the campaign page to answer questions about connectivity, battery life, and more. Dacuda needs $50,000 to send PocketScan out into the market. Additionally, stretch goals are available making the device compatible with Android devices at $150,000, iPhones at $250,000, and adding a text to speech mode at $500,000.

The Perks. The PocketScan can be picked up for those that pledge at least $99, with scanning software included for Windows, Mac, and iPad. Developers can get a trio of scanners and access to both the SDK and API for $1,250. All rewards are due to ship out in December 2014.

The Potential. Crowdfunding has hosted a few innovative mobile scanners lately, including the robotic page-traversing  Pocket Printer and PPrintee. Putting scanning literally into the hands of users to do as they wish is a great idea, especially as a new way of sharing content while on the go. The light weight, compact design, and long battery life are great ways of making this device as convenient as possible, making PocketScan a great choice for business pros on the go or young artists who need to strike when inspiration hits them. This is a neat device just as a scanner, but the ability to get instant feedback while scanning and edit scans quickly make this a must-have.

Cooking Sensors/IoT

SCiO spectrometer sniffs out the composition of food and fauna

SCiOIn science fiction, the idea of a handheld analyzer that can report on details of an environment, creature, or substance have been around for decades. SCiO, a pocket spectrometer and molecular sensor that works with the cloud, is bringing those ideas to life. With a flexible development environment, SCiO ships with apps for scanning food, medicine, and plants, but more functions may arise over time. In terms of food scanning, the SCiO is reminiscent of what was promised by the TellSpec, though hopefully this project is more on the level, without the tricky editing and the production backpedaling. SCiO is available for $179 and will ship out by the end of the year.