Project Overview

Title: LifeScanner
CBG Units: Informatics
Scope: To initiate the development of a handheld species identification device; consumer-level product (smartphone app and sampling kit) that significantly reduces entry barriers and access to DNA technologies
Project Duration: 2014-Present
Stage: Prototype


Project Details

We live in a biologically diverse world that we do not always recognize, but it is still there, affecting our lives and impacted by our actions. LifeScanner is the world’s first smartphone app (iOS, Free) and DNA species identification kit. LifeScanner enables citizen scientists to better understand the diversity of animal life around them by reducing barriers and increasing access to DNA technologies.

Scientists believe that only 10% of the species on the planet have been discovered. LifeScanner users can help catalogue new species by sending samples in for DNA analysis. Contributed data are provided to the research teams of the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project to help build a global reference library of the Earth’s biodiversity.

By providing access to scientific records in an easy-to-use platform, LifeScanner allows non-scientists to browse and access species information to educate or help make informed decisions. While enjoying the backyard, hiking on a trail, or a day at the beach, users can look up the species found in their region and in other parts of the world.


Industry Applications

Forensics and Authentication – FDA LifeScanner
Wildlife Crime Prevention – Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge Finalist



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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] DNA Testing Has Food Fraud Running Scared
Sarah McMullin, Director, Emerging Technologies, SAP (June 5 2015). Forbes.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] Hamilton District Christian School student have DNA barcodes created through the University of Guelph
Ancaster News (June 5 2015). Hamilton Community News.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] LifeScanner: Discover the diversity of living organisms around you and contribute to a global knowledge base on biological diversity
Larry Greenemeier (August 19 2014). Scientific American.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] Why You Should Care About The Quest To Put DNA Barcodes On Every Species
Heather Clancy (January 6 2014). Forbes.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] Instantly Identify Any Species With Your Cell Phone, Using The Barcode Of Life
Ariel Schwartz (December 9 2013). Fast CoExist.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] IBM and SAP open up big data platforms for citizen science
Kristine A Wong (January 27 2014). The Guardian.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] DNA sequencing, by iPhone
Jacqueline Detwiler (March 1 2014). United Hemispheres.

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[column width=\”nine\” place=\”last\”] Crowdsourcing behind SAP mobile app for DNA project
Howard Solomon (October 31 2013). IT World Canada.



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Connect to LifeScanner

For more information on LifeScanner visit