World's first iPhone camera sees what you can't
Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland, have developed world’s first hyperspectral mobile devices by converting an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor, which will help users to sense food quality or monitoring health.
Although, hyperspectral cameras are traditionally expensive, the iPhone camera tweaked by the researchers has been claimed to bring new possibilities of low-cost spectral imaging to consumer applications.
The cost-effective optical MEMS (Micro Opto Electro Mechanical Systems) 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.
"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 at VTT.
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.