Organic or toxic? This is what a new application developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg can determine. The app, called HawkSpex, enables its users to test food and objects for their ingredients.
To analyze food with HawkSpex, one needs only a smartphone and nothing more. Although systems that perform such scans already exist, users usually have to attach additional parts such as a prism onto the front of the integrated camera.
"What makes our app special is that users don't need anything for a scan other than the camera already integrated in their smartphones," said Prof. Udo Seiffert, Expert Group Manager at Fraunhofer IFF.
The HawkSpex app uses special software that activates the display of a smartphone, which then illuminates the object to be tested with different colors, replacing the otherwise necessary prism technology.
This broadband, three-channel sensor - one that measures all wavelengths - illuminates the object with different color lights. Depending on the reflection of these colors, the ingredients and chemicals contained in the product can then be determined.
Developers of the app also stated that HawkSpex could be used not only to identify poisons, but also can be implemented in different production phases to simplify quality control of food or cosmetics.
The app could even be utilized when buying a used car, as it can detect whether the paint of the car is the same color everywhere or whether it was repainted to conceal a past accident.