Changhong H2: a smartphone that can read sweetness

The 'chemistry' behind the Changhong H2 is fascinating

We’ve seen smartphones that can do a lot of things. They can act as a projector, produce 3D scans or help us explore the virtual world. While this is advanced in itself, companies at CES 2017 are pushing boundaries further. Changhong’s H2 optically scans objects and can tell you what they’re made of.

The science

The Chinese smartphone uses near-infrared spectroscopy to achieve this, something I’m sure you may have first encountered in those now hazy high school chemistry lessons. For those who don’t know, the technology relies on light and how it changes as it goes through an object. This is unique to each material and the change can be processed to tell us the composition of a substance. But while you might think this is some crazy technology, it has been implemented in the past. Samsung’s flagships use a similar technology to analyse heart rates and blood oxygen levels using sensors.

This upcoming smartphone can "taste" sweetness, measure body fat, and identify counterfeit drugs
The Changhong H2 uses light to detect the composition of a substance

Changhong’s technology is just a large step further. The phone implements a general purpose spectrometer using technology from both Analog Devices Inc and Consumer Physics.

How can it be used?

So beyond it telling you what things are made of, how would you use it? Well for starters, you could tell the composition of any food you’d like to eat, packaged or not. That means you’d be able to tell how much sugar is in that baklava you’re craving or custom pick the sweetest apples at the grocery store. On the contrary, the tool could be handy for diabetics to cut down on sugar as well.

The H2 brings a very interesting concept in a smartphone’s form factor

For the fat-conscious among us, they could track their body fat levels. This can come to use when you’re tracking your progress through an exercise regime. And that too very accurately as opposed to convincing yourself its working.

Lastly, you can even use it to tell if an item is genuine or fake. This is particularly useful to tell apart counterfeit medication from genuine medicine like the company showcased at their booth at CES. As for the jewellery enthusiasts in Dubai, they’ll be able to tell the difference between genuine diamonds and cubic zirconia.

How sweet is that apple?

There are endless uses only limited by our imagination. Maybe scanning items to tell if they’re recyclable? Or even telling the difference between various types of clothes for optimum laundry. It’s all possible.

Pricing and availability

While this may seem like a concept product, it will actually be available to users commercially. The phone is said to be available early this year in China with the US market receiving it sometime in Autumn. Unfortunately, there’s no news on when it will come to the UAE.

Pricing in China tells us the Changhong H2 could be around $400 (Dh1,500) but it may be slightly different once it hits international markets. In any case, this is a reasonably affordable device for something that offers this sort of functionality. Would you be interested in getting one? Let us know down below.