The Sonic Screwdriver (or Scio)

I am not totally obsessed with Doctor who, but I am obsessed with his screwdriver. You may not know what a Sonic Screwdriver is. A Sonic Screwdriver looks something like this:


It can unlock locks, analyse objects, and disable any robot, as long as there are no deadlocks. And now, someone has decided to create a pocket sized device which can analyse objects, just like the Sonic Screwdriver! That is pretty cool. It’s called Scio, although another company called Tellspec has also created one.

But how does it do it? Scio sends out a near-infrared light that reflects off the surface of whatever you are scanning, which is usually food or medicine. It cause the molecules to vibrate in a certain way. Some of the light that has been sent out then bounces back into the device which then compares the data to data being stored in the cloud. After that, the results are sent straight to your iPhone. Say goodbye to not knowing what’s in your food! But there is a downside. It doesn’t work with metal, or plants, or clear liquids. Hopefully it will be improved in the future so it does work with those materials, but for now, we have to stick with food and medicine. I think it is really cool how you can analyse objects with light reflection and absorption.

Of course, Scio isn’t the only invention based on the Sonic Screwdriver. There is also something quite similar that is being worked on at the Australian National University which utilises diamonds to create the scanner. They are aiming for the device to help solve medical and environmental problems within hospitals by scanning proteins for diseases and fixing them too. The way the device works is that through tiny defects in the diamond itself, it reads a change in frequency, which is caused when a molecule touches the diamond. They use that data to analyse it. It’s supposed to be a very affordable and handy device for hospitals, as they can carry it around. It’s kind of like a mini MRI machine!

When I read about things like this it makes me feel really inspired. The two scanners were fiction before, and now they’re real. It shows that you can do anything, if you really put your mind to it! Now, get inventing!

From Charlie