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New camera that can see beneath surfaces could eventually work with smartphones

By midian182
Oct 16, 2015
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  1. The University of Washington and Microsoft Research have developed a camera that can see beneath a piece of fruit’s skin to see if it’s starting to go bad. The Hypercam, which has been developed by a team of computer scientists and electrical engineers, uses hyperspectral imaging technology to gather images from across the electromagnetic spectrum and combine them into one picture.

    Whereas regular cameras capture just red, green and blue wavelengths, the Hypercam also uses both visible and invisible near-infrared wavelengths to see beneath the surface of objects. The camera flashes with 17 different wavelengths of light in sequence, capturing a different image for each wavelength.

    "When you look at a scene with a naked eye or a normal camera, you're mostly seeing colors. You can say, 'Oh, that's a pair of blue pants,'" lead author Mayank Goel said in a statement. "With a hyperspectral camera, you're looking at the actual material that something is made of. You can see the difference between blue denim and blue cotton."

    The technology used in the camera is typically found in industrial applications and space programs, often at a cost of several thousands of dollars. The team behind the Hypercam claims its device costs roughly $800, but could be added to a smartphone camera for as little as $50.

    “Existing systems are costly and hard to use, so we decided to create an inexpensive hyperspectral camera and explore these uses ourselves. After building the camera we just started pointing it at everyday objects -- really anything we could find in our homes and offices -- and we were amazed at all the hidden information it revealed," said Microsoft researcher Neel Joshi.

    Should the technology eventually come to smartphones, it could result in shoppers using it to examine a store's fruit as a way to ascertain its freshness. When tested on 10 different fruits, the Hypercam predicted the ripeness of each piece with 94 percent accuracy.

    The Hypercam could also be used as a biometric tool for security systems. The camera can reveal vein and skin texture patterns in hands, and was able to differentiate between images of hands from 25 people with 99 percent accuracy.

    One issue with the camera is that it doesn’t work particularly well in bright light, as it proves too much for the sensors. The researchers say they will now be working on overcoming this problem, as well as finding the best way to implement the technology into smartphones.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,684   +791

    Interesting ... but will it come with the 20 volume of medical books to tell you what you're seeing and if it is an accurate diagnosis or just something "neat" to look at? Don't get me wrong, I love new technology, but I like it a lot better then it serves a real function that can be explained so the user will understand it.
     
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,980   +362

    No one will stop you from buying the medical books on your own if you really want them. They won't be inexpensive though. :)
     
  4. JamesandBennie

    JamesandBennie TS Booster Posts: 162   +14

    This might save a lot more time in emergency case. The doctor just takes his smartphone to scan the injured, and there he gets waht he needs. But, of course, this can be used only when it is mature enough.
     
  5. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Booster Posts: 88   +30

    Could this be used to determine blood glucose levels?
     

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