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MyDx Sensors Sniff Out Chemicals, Toxins

The wireless device is designed to analyze a small sample of a substance, while a companion smartphone app displays the results.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

To date, Yazbeck says, CDx has sold 1,000 MyDx units, which retail for $699 at the company's website. Aside from individuals, he adds, pot dispensaries have also purchased the product, which they use to show customers the profiles of various strains they sell. One need not use the device in order to access a particular strain's profile (without the analysis of a specific sample)—which, he says, is why the company's CannaDx app has been downloaded more than 20,000 times from the iTunes and Google Play websites.

The cannabis sensor inside the MyDx device is removable, and CDx is now preparing to begin selling three additional sensors, for $69 each, that are designed to analyze produce for traces of pesticides, to analyze air for toxins, and to analyze water for harmful chemicals, such as mercury and lead. The companion apps for these sensors will display the amounts, in parts per million, of the target chemicals in produce, air or water, as well as the amounts of those chemicals that are safe for human exposure, per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

Yazbeck feels that the availability of these additional sensors will make the price point of the device itself more palatable, since they will make it useful for more than analyzing cannabis. CDx is also working to build the ability to detect pesticides into the next generation of the cannabis sensor—which, he says, is a growing concern among marijuana users.

Consumers want to empower themselves to better understand the quality of and dangers present in the things they consume, Yazbeck explains, and to determine, say, whether the conventionally grown produce they purchase carries excessive levels of pesticides. "That's why our motto is 'Trust, but verify,'" he states.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery that powers the MyDx device supports six hours of constant analysis, Yazbeck reports. Each test takes roughly five minutes to complete.

Last year, an Israeli startup known as Consumer Physics began selling a handheld analyzer called the SCiO, which is also marketed as a device that can help consumers better understand the contents of the products they purchase. The SCiO uses a different sensor technology—near-infrared spectrometry—to conduct its analysis. Rather than searching for harmful chemicals, it is designed to help determine a given food's fat or sugar contents, for example, or to verify that a drug is, in fact, what the bottle says it is.

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