iPhone as Hyperspectral Camera

VTT creates the world's first hyperspectral Iphone camera. (Source: T. Kauppila / VTT)

The world’s first hyperspectral iPhone camera in action. (Source: T. Kauppila, VTT)

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has created the world’s first hyper­spectral mobile device by converting an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor. This will bring the new possi­bilities of low-cost spectral imaging to consumer appli­cations. Consumers will be able to use their mobile phones for example to sense food quality or monitor health. Hyper­spectral cameras, which are tradi­tionally expensive, have been used for demanding medical and industrial, space and environmental sensing. The cost-effective optical MEMS spectral techno­logy enables the development of new mobile appli­cations for environ­mental sensing and obser­vation from vehicles and drones. Other appli­cations include health monitoring and food analysis. All of this forms part of an environ­ment combining smart sensors with the Internet.

“Consumer benefits could appear in health applications, such as mobile phones that are able to check whether moles are malignant or food is edible. They could also verify product authen­ticity or identify users based on biometric data. On the other hand, driver­less cars could sense and identify environ­mental features based on the repre­sentation of the full optical spectrum at each point of an image,” explains Anna Rissanen, who is heading the research team. VTT has already developed a wide range of new appli­cations for the inno­vative hyperspectral cameras. These include the diagnosis of skin cancer, environ­mental sensing based on nano­satellites, various drone appli­cations for precision agri­culture and forest moni­toring, and projects underway for the remote measure­ment of vessel emissions.

Optical spectral imaging offers a versatile way of sensing various objects and analysing material pro­perties. Hyper­spectral imaging provides access to the optical spectrum at each point of an image, enabling a wide range of measure­ments. The adjustable tiny MEMS filter is integrated with the camera lens and its adjustment is synchro­nised with the camera’s image capture system. “Today’s smart devices provide huge oppor­tunities for the processing of image data and various cloud services based on spectral data. Mass-produced sensor techno­logy will enable the intro­duction of hyper­spectral imaging in a range of devices in which low-cost camera sensors are currently used,” Rissanen comments. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland aims to cooperate with companies to commer­cialise the techno­logy and bring new, inno­vative optical sensor products to the market. (Source: VTT)

Link: Optical microspectrometer, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki, Finland

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