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Hyperspectral iPhone Camera to Monitor Health and Environment

Photonics.com
Nov 2016
OULU, Finland, Nov. 30, 2016 — By turning an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor, researchers at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have created a low-cost hyperspectral mobile device. This will allow consumers to monitor their health, test food quality and verify product authenticity, all from their smartphone.


Spectral image. Courtesy of VTT Technical Research Center.

VTT researcher Anna Rissanen said with cost-effective Micro Opto Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), optical spectral technology for mobile applications will help the consumer and the corporation.

"Consumer benefits could appear in health applications such as mobile phones that are able to check whether moles are malignant or if food is edible. They could also identify users based on biometric data,” said Rissanen. “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.”

Optical spectral imaging offers users a versatile way of sensing various objects and analyzing material properties. The adjustable tiny MEMS filter is integrated with the camera lens and its adjustment is synchronized with the camera's image capture system.


Optical MEMS-chip which is integrated into camera. Courtesy of VTT Technical Research Center.

“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 said.

VTT has developed a wide range of new applications for their hyperspectral cameras to 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.


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