The European Commission has awarded Spectral Engines the main Horizon 2020 prize for cracking the challenge of developing an affordable and non-invasive mobile food scanner solution that enables users to measure and analyse their food intake

This is a guest blog post written by Jarkko Antila, Chief Executive Officer, Spectral Engines

Food is such a common, everyday issue. Yet, critical for sustaining life and supporting well-being. Food is also the one individual factor that has the greatest impact on health, globally. Food-related health problems, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have grown to epidemic proportions and are taking a heavy toll on our society.

Once we learned about the Horizon Prize for a food scanner, we realized that this is a chance for us to make a real impact: to improve people’s health and well-being, as well as advance the competitiveness of the European Union.

Our challenge was to develop an affordable and non-invasive mobile solution that analyses food composition, nutritional facts and detects potentially harmful ingredients, such as allergens. We wanted to come up with an easy way to help people with food-related conditions, such as obesity, allergies or hypersensitivity. The approach should also promote health in the long-term, by providing feedback to users on their lifestyle.

Our solution, the Food Scanner, is based on our novel spectral sensing platform. It uses the world’s smallest near-infrared (NIR) spectral sensing module (which delivers the spectral response of the light absorbed by materials), advanced algorithms, cloud-connectivity and a vast material library. It is able to detect the fat, protein, sugar and total energy content of food items at high accuracy.

The mission of our company has always been to develop technology that has a positive impact in people’s lives: to also help alleviate problems, such as obesity, that have a massive societal impact, is thrilling.

Knowing how many companies there are currently developing consumer-products based on spectroscopic technology, winning the first prize from Horizon 2020 is real proof of the high quality solution we provided.

The inducement prize gave us a real boost to forge ahead with development work, as the reward was an incentive for us to invest in our own R&D.

While we have already made great efforts to develop the food-scanning solution concept, this is only the beginning. The reward of the Horizon Prize will fuel further development and business growth.

Our Spectral Scanner platform can already be used by companies in multiple application fields. The Food Scanner concept is one example of such a solution for nutrition and health. Other fields include identification of textiles and medicine as well as improving various industrial processes. For us this is business, but for Europe it is a step towards becoming a more sustainable and healthier society.

Keep in touch with us:


Twitter: @SpectralEngines