Scientists develop mobile phones that could sense environment

London [UK], Nov, 28 : Scientists from VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland have created the world's first hyperspectral mobile device that would enable consumers to use their mobile phones to sense environment and other abstract things like food quality or monitor health.

The device has been created by converting an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor. This will bring the new possibilities of low-cost spectral imaging to consumer applications. Hyperspectral cameras, which are traditionally expensive, have been used for demanding medical and industrial, space and environmental sensing.

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. All of this forms part of an environment combining smart sensors with the Internet. "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," explained Anna Rissanen, the head researcher.

Adding, "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," VTT has already developed a wide range of new applications for the innovative hyperspectral cameras.

These 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.

Optical spectral imaging offers a versatile way of sensing various objects and analysing material properties.

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 synchronized with the camera's image capture system.

Source: ANI