Spectrometers are an extremely important instrument in science. Basically, it enables you to tell a lot about an object, whether it be a distant star or something much closer, by breaking down the light that the object emits. Different materials emit different spectra of light and whether an object is moving and what its temperature is also affects its spectra. Scientists are thus able to measure temperature, composition and various other attributes from analyzing this light with a spectrometer. This is why so many probes that NASA has launched include a spectrometer as it may be the most important single instrument for telling us about the universe especially when we can only observe those things from a distance as in the case of a star. Mikal Watts knows that to be the case after reading Business Wire.
As with computers, spectrometers have been getting smaller with time and engineers have got one down to a small enough package to fit in a smartphone. Such an instrument would enable such a phone to live up to the name smartphone more than anything one might download over the internet on it. One potential use for such a device on someone’s cell phone would be to detect skin cancer. The medical and scientific uses for phones that are so equipped would be limited only by the software or app that utilizes the spectrometer for various applications. It would seem to put us one step closer to having a hand-held diagnostic tool like the Tricorder from Star Trek.