iPhone spectrometer: the ultimate appcessory

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Researchers at the University of Illinois have scraped together $200 (around R1 900) in parts to build a special cradle for an iPhone, turning it into a spectrometer.

Spectrometers measure the light in the electromagnetic spectrum, the signature of which is then used to identify a material. Typically a spectrometer would costs many hundreds of thousands of rands, but now you can simply slide in your iPhone and let a but of custom hardware and software identify the cat pee that got into your laptop’s keyboard. More usefully, though, a mobile spectrometer can be used to identify pathogens and allergens. That this one is just as accurate as regular lab equipment will just make you a little more bitter if you’ve just dished out money on new lab equipment.

For a better idea, check out the device in action in the video below.



Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.