Smartphone camera to be used as optical sensor

Using a smartphone camera as an optical sensor, scientists have developed the world’s first cost-effective hyperspectral mobile device for applications such as sensing food quality and monitoring health.

Traditionally, hyperspectral cameras are expensive and used for sensing in medical, industrial, space and environmental applications. Optical spectral imaging allows for versatility while sensing objects and analyzing their material properties. Using hyperspectral imaging, scientists can access the optical spectrum at each point of an image, enabling a wide range of measurements.

However, using the current optical Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) spectral technology, new mobile applications can be developed. According to the researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland, the applications can be used for environmental sensing from vehicles and drones etc., monitoring health and for food analysis, all of which form part of an environment combining smart sensors with the Internet.

Anna Rissanen from VTT maintained that consumers could benefit from the health applications such as mobile phones that could check for malignant moles or analyze whether food is edible.

“They [consumers] 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,” said Rissanen.

The tiny MEMS filter is adjustable and integrated with the camera lens, with its adjustment is synchronized with the camera’s image-capturing system.

“Today’s smart devices provide huge opportunities for the processing of image data and various cloud services based on spectral data,” said Rissanen, adding that with mass production of the sensor technology, hyperspectral imaging could be introduced in a wide range of devices where low-cost camera sensors are currently used.

More information can be found at: The Tribune.

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