Back in 2014, the SCiO seemed like a Kickstarter success story.
The Israeli startup Consumer Physics aimed to raise US $200,000 to fund an initial production run of its handheld spectrometer, the SCiO. With this pocket-size tool, the company said, people could use near-infrared spectroscopy to determine the molecular composition of substances in their everyday lives. For example, they could point the SCiO at a pile of apples at the supermarket and determine which had the highest sugar content.
This tech sounded mighty cool to about 13,000 people, who signed on as Kickstarter backers at various levels: Most pledged between $150 and $300 for a version of the SCiO, while the more ambitious paid between $400 and $1000 for the SCiO plus a developer’s kit. The company’s estimated shipping dates ranged from October 2014 to February 2015. Consumer Physics ended up raising $2.7 million.
Today, the company’s Kickstarter page is down, with a placeholder note saying that SCiO is subject to an intellectual property dispute. And its Facebook page is filled with angry comments from backers who have waited nearly two years for their promised SCiO. For example: