$250 handheld laser spectrometer food scanner will connect to your smartphone and servers in the cloud to tell you what allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, ingredients are in your food

TellSpec brings together laser spectroscopy, nanophotonics, and a unique mathematical algorithm in a revolutionary hand-held consumer device that can analyze the chemical composition of any food in less than 20 seconds.

The TellSpec handheld device beams a low-powered laser at the food you wish to analyze, measures the reflected light with a spectrometer, and sends the data via your smart phone, computer, or tablet to TellSpec’s servers in the cloud. Those servers use this data to deduce information about your food that is of interest to you. This information is then displayed on your computer, tablet or smart phone so you can intelligently decide if you want to buy or eat the food.

TellSpec is currently under development, after raising three times its funding goal on Indiegogo. Shipping is slated to begin in August 2014. Its US$320 price tag includes one year of free analysis of food scans, with further analyses being made available through subscription plans.

The Indiegogo campaign is still offering US$250 devices for pre-order.

You’ll get a TellSpec scanner in your choice of white, red, green, or turquoise blue—and two years of unlimited analysis of your food scans. Plus you will be listed as a Gold Contributor, for helping to build a healthier world for all of us. We will send you updates on our progress and invitations to live events. This offer includes limited warranty and EULA.

TellSpec is a handheld food scanner that connects to your smartphone to inform you about allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, and the ingredients present in any food item.

TellSpec data will be open source, allowing anyone to use the data to create their own health-based apps. For instance, a diabetic app that tracks blood sugar levels could utilize TellSpec data to track what sugars or carbohydrates the user consumes, and identify ingredients in their food that would also convert into sugar.


The handheld scanner is a Raman spectrometer. The low-powered laser inside the scanner emits a beam through the front window. Light emitted from the sample is then collected through a filter in the same window. This light then passes through a diffraction grating that disperses the light onto an image sensor, which converts it into an electrical signal that is then digitized.

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