Lauren Muskett

January 31, 2014

3 Min Read
Gadget Freak Review: Smart Contact Lens, Precise Nutrition Facts & Mini Solar Powered Greenhouse

This Gadget Freak review looks at a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels, a gadget that can scan any food item to deliver precise nutrition facts and a list of ingredients, and a homemade, 24-hour solar-powered greenhouse. We will also look at a vintage gadget freak that is a wearable computer for your pet so you can record data on how it is being treated while it is boarded.

Smart Contact Lens Measures Glucose Levels


Google is currently testing a new smart contact lens that can measure the glucose levels in tears. In a blog post, Google notes that diabetes is a growing problem, and monitoring glucose levels can be a lot of work given how frequently the levels can change. The lens uses a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor embedded between the contact lens material. One prototype being tested takes a reading once per second. Another idea they are working on is integrating tiny LEDs that could light up to alert you when your glucose levels fluctuate. Google states this technology still requires more work and testing and they are still in discussions with the FDA.

Beaming Your Nutrition Facts


TellSpec is a handheld device that scans and analyzes food to alert you of the exact ingredients it contains. Using laser spectroscopy and a unique mathematical algorithm, TellSpec can analyze the chemical composition of any food. When the low-powered laser in the TellSpec scanner is beamed at a food product, it measures the reflected light with a spectrometer and sends you the data -- all under 20 seconds. The data can be sent to your smartphone, computer, or tablet. The information TellSpec collects about the food includes the allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, and ingredients. It also allows you to precisely track your calories, vitamins, and minerals, and can also alert you to food sensitivities. The TellSpec starts shipping in August and costs $320 with a year of unlimited analysis.

Mini 24-Hour Solar-Powered Greenhouse


User JoshuaZimmerman on Instructables showed off a double solar-powered greenhouse he created for the cold winter months. He needed a lighting system for his plants that would go on at night, so he created, "an acrylic little plant incubator that runs night-time lights powered by solar energy." He houses his electronics (transistor, diode, Ohm resistor, LEDs, rechargeable batteries, and solar cell) in an acrylic cut case, but says a two-liter soda bottle cut in half will also do the trick. The way the greenhouse works is that during the day the solar cell will recharge the batteries and at night the batteries turn on the LEDs to increase plant growth. He explains that this is a great for geminating seedlings or nurturing plants that need some extra love.

Vintage Gadget Freak: Wearable Computer Keeps Tabs on Fido & Kitty


Did ever wonder how your cat or dog is being treated when you board it? Pete Cross decided to answer that question with technology. He created the PetInspect gadget, which records data on how a pet is being treated while it is boarded. The data-logger and wireless communications device lets you track your pet's environment -- hot or cold -- and whether the pet is getting exercise. This gadget consists of a 16-bit microcontroller with 256K of Flash memory and sensors for pressure, temperature, activity, light, and proximity.

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