Smartphone NIR from BASF

ianm's picture

I have just published a News story on ( about a NIR sensor developed by a BASF spinoff (and presumably licenced by BASF) that they say will be available in smartphones by 2022.

Knowing the robust discussion around miniaturised NIR in this Forum ;), I would be interested to know people's opinions! It seems potentially significant if a company with the size and reputation of BASF is making such claims.

In case you want to delve deeper, the original press release can be found at, which also has a few links.


joseacayu's picture

Thanks, Ian, for the information.

The notice has impresed me... . If it can work well enough, I hope to see people in a short time using in the market something like this to assess fruit quality, by example! .


José A. Cayuela


JohanG's picture

Have been waiting for that. Will be good if it can be used on dairy farms, etc.

ianm's picture

Agreed. I would have thought the potential (real) market in agriculture is far larger than people who want a rough idea of what's in their plate of food. Would NIR spectroscopy be sensitive and reliable enough to detect traces of allergens? That would be a big market, but achievable??


graemeb's picture

Thanks to Ian for posting the link to the announcment by BASF in which is the expectation that the first (smart phone based) spectrometers using their  near infrared sensor will be available in 2019 for industrial and semi-professional applications. 

While we in the  NIR community will be concerned by their statement " Analyzing food with a smartphone happens in just a few seconds, without compromising the product in any way" we should see this as the incentive to obtain and thoroughly test the device and publicise the benefits and the dangers it offers. Experience is valuable when using any analytical device.

I remember having to train some rice growers (who thought one plant was all they needed ) to combine readings from many plants to gain a reliable indication of the fertilizer needs of their crops  because individual plants can have widely different nitrogen contents.  If someone wishes to  use a smart phone to assess what is on a  plate of food we  NIR scientists need to know what is possible and initiate the training.

It may be that the value of a smart phone-NIR sensor will not be to indicate the fat on the plate but the temperature of the food, or for a visibility-impared person something we would know by simply using our eyes.