Anna Rissanen and colleagues, VTT, Finland, have converted an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor. This first hyperspectral mobile device will allow consumers to use their mobile phones for example to sense food quality or monitor health.
VTT has already developed a wide range of applications for the hyperspectral cameras, includeing the diagnosis of skin cancer, environmental sensing based on nanosatellites, various drone applications for precision agriculture and forest monitoring. Projects for the remote measurement of vessel emissions are underway.
Hyperspectral cameras traditionally are expensive. VTT uses the cost-effective optical MEMS (Micro Opto Electro Mechanical Systems) spectral technology. Thier hyperspectral camera is developed on the basis of the Fabry-Perot interferometer. It captures images in up to 70 narrow wavelengths – a regular camera uses only three. The spectral image generated is a three-dimensional cube built of numerous layers of grey-scale images, each of which has been taken within a limited wavelength range. A spectrum for each pixel of the spectral image is formed by the images within the cube. Different biological tissues, for example, can be identified by their reflected spectra in hyperspectral images. Computational methods are used to interpret these images, to determine, e.g., the position and size of a tumor to be treated.
VTT is now looking for companies to commercialize the technology.