The A.P Showcase

The exhibition was at the Industrial Design faculty which was with all other projects from our Minor group.

It was so incredible to see all that attention on the main goal of SCiO. Mainly the school-kids visiting were so enthusiastic about the device and the connection with the App and the heads.


Our table

Also as a result we noticed they liked the new interface better because it was more user-friendly especially when you are just starting to play around with the device and the app.

We had quite a lot of visitors ranging from nearly all ages to different walks of life as well. By interacting with the visitors, it was fascinating to see what their perspectives were and how they would use the device if they had a chance to design an app for it. Suggestions ranged from testing food to find if there were any allergens to scanning textiles to see what kind of fabric they had!


The group with Jouke.


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Looking Back

When we had briefly read about the SCiO device we were quite curious about the device and what the project would be about. However the first briefing was not really exciting, namely creating a database. It was up to us to add things to the project to make it interesting. Eventually after a lot of research about the technique and the hardware of the device we conclude that the device wasn’t reliable. Since we weren’t allowed to open the device to look into the hardware, we had to come up with something else to improve the device. We focused on the factors which could be affected by human errors thereby helping to reduce it.

We noticed in our first experience with the SCiO device, that the app interface wasn’t efficient and user-friendly. We enjoyed the process of improving the interface, making it screen by screen and paying attention to the details which are important for the user-interaction. This resulted in a kind of semi-interactive app made in PowerPoint. We also made a couple of heads for the SCiO device, which were 3D printed. Although the brief of our project did not entail any prototyping, we had to tailor it in such a way that we were able to incorporate 3D printing into it.

We liked the fact that we could test a product that was new to everyone. Because nobody knew about SCiO we had to begin from scratch and figure it out all by ourselves. It was also fun to think of possible uses and improvements on the SCiO device.

One of the downsides was that very soon in the project, we discovered that the SCiO device was quite far from what it promised to be. This meant that a lot of the excitement for SCiO was gone and with that some of the motivation for the project, because we couldn’t think about possible uses anymore (what would have been the most fun part). We felt that this limited what we could potentially do with the device. We also did not have any apps to work with to test the device. It’s only about a month ago that an app called DietSensor ,specifically made for the SCiO, (which tells you the nutritional facts about whatever food item you scan) was released. It would’ve been nice to see how that worked and the results would’ve been more tangible and easier to measure.

What also didn’t help was the fact that we were not allowed to properly investigate the device. We would’ve liked to open the device and reverse engineer every part.

We think that it will be interesting to watch out for more updates from Consumer Physics and see how they develop the device further and the apps along with it.


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Poster : A Summary

Poster Science Fair-01

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Proposed SCiO Interface ( Final Ver.)

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What Can The SCiO Be Used For?


We analysed the SCiO device and concluded that it is not reliable enough to find small differences in materials. It can be an unreliable database with upto 10 % deviation (errors) from the hardware. It has difficulties analyzing in certain conditions where the reflections of the sample is not the strongest .  Also stated by the makers of SCiO , the device shouldn’t be used for medical purposes, and we wouldn’t recommend it either.

Besides the fact that SCiO may not give the results promised by its developers, still a lot of people are enthusiastic about the device. We also were excited to start working with the SCiO device and find out about different materials by scanning everything around us as it seemed like fun.

When we just started the project and began learning about the device, numerous ideas about possible uses came to our minds. For example: We had an idea to use SCiO as a allergy warning device. You let the interface know what allergy you have. When you scan your food, SCiO can detect if its safe for you to eat or not.

We also thought of using SCiO for detecting leaks and cracks in buildings. Sadly, the device is not as advanced in its applications at this point as promised by its developers and can therefore not be used reliably for these purposes.

The SCiO device was of course never intended as a device for professional use. Because the SCiO device is precise enough to identify different materials (if scanned correctly -> good sample, good underlay, same conditions) the device can be a fun gadget.

This gadget has the potential to be the one that can teach people the basics of different material types. Materials may look the same, but with a quick analysis people can learn that there are a lot more different materials than people might think. SCiO can definitely be that gadget.

For the right price , SCiO can be the gadget that people would want to have and to show off to everybody how cool of a device it is and what it can teach people.



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New 3D Printed Heads


When using the SCiO we discovered the limitations of the regular head that comes with it. We put ourselves up with the task to design heads that provide solutions to these limitations. We came up with a couple of designs and tested these designs to see if they work and improve the performance.

Regular head IRegular head II

The above pictures show the regular head of the SCiO Device.

The limitations of the regular head are:
– The size of the head is quite small
– When scanning rounded surfaces the head doesn’t provide a stable stand
– The surface the sample lies upon makes a lot of difference
– There is no possibility to scan liquids

We started with drawing different types of heads and deciding which one to make. After choosing which ones to make, we modeled the heads on a computer using the Solidworks software. We used the 3D printers at the IO PMB to produce the heads.

head sketches





The pictures above shows the initial sketches and 3D computer models


The heads were 3D printed in the Ultimaker at the IO PMB.


Below are the new heads we printed. We made different heads for the limitations of the regular SCiO head. For each limitation we made a different head:

new heads with numbers


Head 1 is for scanning rounded surfaces.

Heads with 2 are also made for scanning round surfaces.

Head 3 is made for scanning with the same underlay every time.

Head 4 made for scanning liquids.

Head 5 is a bigger version of the regular head.

Head number 6 is the regular sized head.

Spray painted matte black

Testing the Heads
For testing the heads we compared the test results from the scan of the polymer PI we did before. We chose PI because it is a transparent material. For every scan we scanned it a minimum of three times.

When scanning with the new heads we got wrong results, the results where almost all exactly the same. After scanning the material the heads were made from, we realized the SCiO scan results got influenced by the material of the heads. The reason for that is that the light reflects from the sample to the head and then back to the SCiO device. The reflection of the head was stronger than the reflection of the sample.

When we scanned the regular head we found out that it gave a weak reflection. This is because the regular head is matte black. We decided to paint our heads matte black as well. We conducted the same test with the matte black heads, the results where more like the scan with the regular head.

Spray painted matte black

Spray painted matte black

head 3 with refelectivehead 3 in use

The above pictures show the head that provides the same underlay with each sample. Its idea is that the metal like rectangle is reflective like the calibration head, so that it will be excluded from the results. This way you only scan the sample. A disadvantage of this head is that the surrounding light will influence the results.

When we tested this head we found out that the reflective material we used influenced the result too much. That was we expected because the reflective material has to be exactly the same as the inside of the calibration head. This is just to show our idea.

rounded head

The above picture shows the head that will provide a stable scanning platform for rounded surfaces

failed rounded head

Above is another head for rounded surfaces but it didn’t work

head for liquids

Above here you can see the head where you can put liquid in. We couldn’t test this head properly because we didn’t have a reference yet. What we do know is that just like the other head with reflective material, the reflective material influences the result.

Overall Conclusion on the New Heads
We found out that it is harder then we thought to make new heads because of the reflection of the material the head is made of. Even with the matte black paint we didn’t get the same results as the regular head. Probably the surface also has a great influence on the performance of the head. Some heads couldn’t be thoroughly tested because we didn’t have the materials available.

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Analysis of the SCiO Device


Comparing SCiO with Professional Devices

We want to know how well the SCiO device preforms when compared with professional devices and if it can give us reliable results. Firstly, we got a little background information about the SCiO technique. Secondly, we wanted to compare the SCiO device with a similar professional device.

The SCiO device makes use of NIR spectroscopic analysis. It is a little different from the widely used mid-range spectroscopic analysis, like FTIR. Researchers thought there was little to be gained by studying NIR spectroscopy, because mid-range spectroscopy was giving better results.

Eventually Karl Norris did research in the NIR spectroscopy range. He found out that it has an important advantage over mid-range spectroscopy. NIR spectroscopy needs little to no sample preparation because it makes use of reflectance.

Since sample preparation isn’t needed, NIR can be used for a wider range of samples. Food and skin are some examples. Although there is no complete mathematical theory of NIR spectroscopy yet, it relies upon a database to give reliable results. [1]

We wanted to compare the SCiO device with a professional NIR-spectroscopy device. Unfortunatly we couldn’t get our hands on a professional one. Therefore, we tried to compare the SCiO device with a professional FTIR device. When we compared the SCiO device with a professional mid-range spectroscopy device, two things came up:

First of all, scanning with the SCiO device was really easy. There was no need to prepare the samples and every time you scanned something you got a unique result for the material. With the mid-range spectroscopy device we needed to get thicker samples and change parts of the machine so that we could reliably measure our samples. So although the reliability of the SCiO device has yet to be proven, it was way easier to get decent results from the samples.

Secondly, the results from the mid-range spectroscopy device was of a higher resolution than the SCiO device. Peaks where clearer to see, there were more peaks and there were way more differences between the high and low. This meant that different materials can be more easily detected by mid-range Spectroscopy.


How Precise is SCiO?

Even without a direct comparison with a professional device we can tell that the precision of the SCiO device is not that great. Although little sample preparation is needed and the scan conditions don’t need to be prefect (scan angle, environment light, underlay) these conditions will still influence the results.

The hardware of the SCiO device is not of the same quality as professional NIR spectroscopy devices. Without knowing the exact differences, there will be a difference and the SCiO device will not be as precise. The readings differ anywhere between 5-10 percent of the actual samples. [2]

The SCiO device makes use of a database created by users of the SCiO device. The problem is that the average user of a consumer product like the SCiO device is not a scientist. Therefore it is hard to say if the database can be trusted.

NIR spectroscopy sits within the 700-2500 nm range. Within this range different materials show multiple peaks in the graph. The first overtone peak sits around 900-1100 nm and the second around sits around 1200-1400 nm. The range of the SCiO device is only 700-1200 nm. This means that it will measure only one or maybe two overtone peaks and the results from the SCiO device will give less data to compare, thereby giving less reliable results.

SCIO scan results PP

SCiO Scan Results of PP 

SCIO scan results onbekend ()

SCiO Scan Results of Unknown Material


As seen in the graphs above, there are two different results from two different SCiO analysis (each analysis contains three scans). The top result shows the result from the scan of a piece of Polypropylene. When we scanned the second sample we didn’t known what material it was. After looking at the results we saw a lot of similarities between the two materials. Although the graphs aren’t the same, you can recognize some of the peaks. Later on we found out that the second material was indeed PP.

We therefore conclude that you can recognize different materials. But we aren’t sure how well the machine can reliably see the differences between two different samples of PP. If you look closely there is a lot of fluctuation in the graph, especially at the end of the wavelength range.

After looking at lots of scan results, it was noticed that most of the time the third scan differs a lot from the first two. For the most part it has the same shape but it lags a little behind or in the front by a couple of nm. The conditions were the same with the scans, so the differentiation comes from the device itself.


How far does the result of the SCiO scan differ from the FTIR scan results?

  • The results can’t be compared 1:1 because they work in a different spectrum and with a different technique.

How far can the result of the SCiO scan results differ from the FTIR scan results s that it is still reliable?

  • If both SCiO and FTIR could be compared. The results of a SCiO scan can’t differ far from the results of the FTIR device. We already had problems with the scans of the FTIR Device itself. The FTIR needs good samples to give reliable results. The SCiO result can be obtained with less prepared samples.

How does the differentiation in the results of the two techniques compare?

  • The SCiO device has more differentiation in its results. Two scans are never the same. FTIR scans, if done correctly, are almost exactly the same.

Does the amount of scans influence the differentiation in the results of the SCiO scan?

  • If you scan a sample more times than the minimum amount of three, you see the results differ quite a bit. Although it differs, a reliable average can still be obtained. The problem is that the SCiO software does not have that option.

Does the surface that the sample lies upon influence the result?

  • Yes it does, but not as much as when you scan with FTIR.

Taking all of our findings in consideration, we doubt that the SCiO device with its user database will give reliable results. It will be possible to recognize different materials. However the SCiO device will not be able to reliably recognize the difference between to different samples of the same material.

The question now is: Where can the SCiO be used for if you take the low precision into consideration?






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At the Faculty of Chemical and Physical Engineering


We used polymers with the same surface and all of the polymers are transparent. We compared the different techniques on the corresponding grounds, because the range of the FTIR machine is way larger because of different sensors available.

The range of the SCIO device is 700 – 1100 nm.

The range of professional NIR techniques is 700 – 2500 nm

FTIR is used as a reference. We know that FTIR is a well known and approved technique in science. For our investigation we want to see how close the SCIO scan results correspond with the FTIR scan results in the range of the SCIO device.

In order to observe and understand the working of the spectrometer, we went over to the Faculty of Chemical and Physical Engineering to use a professional spectrometry device in the lab. We were assisted by Kaspar Jansen and resident PhD student Vincent Le Sage while using the machine.

Questions we wanted to see be answered by this experiment:

  1. How far does the result of the SCIO scan differ from the FTIR scan results?
  2. How far can the result of the SCIO scan results differ from the FTIR scan results s that it is still reliable?
  3. How does the differentiation in the results of the two techniques compare?
  4. Does the amount of scans influence   the differentiation in the results of the SCIO scan?
  5. Does the surface the sample lies upon influence the result?
At the Chem.Eng. lab with Kaspar

At the Chem.Eng. lab with Kaspar

FTIR Spectrometry Device

FTIR Spectrometry Device

Method 1 of testing :

Before each batch of scans with this FTIR machine we needed to make a background scan. The background scan is a scan without a sample. It makes a scan of the air and then subtracts that from the scans with the samples, so that the air and other possible noise will not interfere with the result of the scan.

Testing: Method 1

Testing: Method 1

The first method to test materials makes use of a crystal that is held (with a little bit of pressure) between the laser and the sample. The laser reflects from the sample back into the crystal and back in to the sample again. This happens many many times. All these reflections eventually give a result.

We chanched from the first method to the second method becasue the samples didn’t reflect enough light from the laser.


With help from Vincent

Method 2 of testing :

Testing: Method 2

Testing: Method 2

Method 2 was used to scan the polymers as it was proposed that it may produce more accurate results.

The second method is based on the absorbency of laser light. A beam of laser is sent through a transparent material. Some of the light will be absorbed when the laser beam is sent through the sample. The computer will then analyse the sample by comparing the sent signal with the received signal (comparing the spectra).

The part that holds the sample and has the laser beam sent through it needs to be covered to protect it from any external factors that can affect the result, like the air. The equipment needs to be cleaned as well to get an accurate result.

Along with this, the background scan should be conducted every couple of hours as the temperature changes throughout the day and this can cause fluctuations in the result.

20151007_112905 20151007_113210 20151007_112907


We got the results below from scanning the samples using Method 2.

  • Cellofaan

scan cellofaan

  • PPS

Scan PPS

  • PI

Scan PI

  • PEI

scan PEI

  • PP (1)

Scan PP

  • PP (2)

Scan thin PP (PP2)


  • The results have a much wider range, because FTIR has a much bigger scanning range
  • The peaks are clear and pointed.
  • Each peak represents a bond of molecules.
  • There are enough peaks to reliably distinguish between different molecules
  • However, some of the graphs show some flat-lining and this is not good. We had this because are samples where not absorbing enough light.


Reference sheet

Reference sheet

The reference sheet helps us to identify the different chemical bonds/ vibrations by looking at the range within which they can be found.


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Update from SCiO: DietSensor


On the 20th of October, 2015, SCiO announced the launch of a new App. called DietSensor which aims to help users keep track of their diets by encouraging them to scan their food and getting the nutritional values from it.

The mySCiO page on Facebook posted the following about the App.:

We are thrilled to share DietSensor: The very first App for the SCiO platform developed by a Kickstarter backer.

Good luck Remy & The DietSenor Team

DietSensor is all about food and balancing your diet. Aims for those who need to regain control of their daily food intake. Especially those who are suffering from being overweight or with chronic disease related to nutrition like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.”

The website of this App. is :


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FTIR(S) Reference


This is the equipment available in the Chemical Engineering faculty lab that we will be using to compare the results of the SCiO with.

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