There’s a lot we don’t know about food and our health. Butter in your coffee, eat like a caveman, or no animal products: you name it and there’s an expert backing it. Even the nutritional labels placed on the majority of food items can be misleading and inaccurate. Fortunately, Isabel Hoffman is tackling this problem head on with her company Tellspec. Motivated by a personal history of allergies and ill health, Hoffman has developed a hand-held food-scanning spectrometer that immediately tells users the exact chemical composition of their food.
Matthew Holt, Co-Chairman at Health 2.0, interviewed Hoffman, who performed a live demo of the Tellspec device, shared her thoughts on Tellspec’s path to widespread consumer adoption, and the future possibilities for Tellspec.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the excitement around Tellspec. The device would demand transparency and accountability from the food industry, help refine the connection between diet and health, and answer a wide variety of consumer concerns from general nutrition to chronic disease to allergies. Of course, this all depends on Tellspec delivering on its claims, something the company has failed to do in recent history.
Critics jumped on Tellspec for not being able to deliver on its crowdfunding campaign, but it remains unclear whether that was a production issue or if there are bigger concerns with the technology Tellspec depends on. As some may recall, other crowdfunded devices with lofty claims, like the passive calorie tracker GoBe, have turned out to be bogus. So is Tellspec the real deal? It’s hard to tell at this point. Hoffman scanned a cake on stage at TED, Health 2.0 staff saw a live scan of Wheat Thins, and you can watch a scan below, but don’t hold your breath for the day you can take the device down to In-N-Out to see what’s really in those Animal Fries.
Kim Krueger is a Research Analyst at Health 2.0 where Matthew Holt is the Co-Chairman.