Computer scientists and electrical engineers have developed an affordable hyper-spectral camera that uses both visible and invisible near-infrared light to “see” beneath surfaces and capture unseen details. HyperCam, which uses the visible and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, illuminates a scene with 17 different wavelengths and generates an image for each. The camera then sorts through the hundreds of frames and chooses the ones that are most different from what the naked eye sees. With these pictures, the camera is able to identify veins lying just under the skin, and can identify different textures of objects. For example, when taking a picture of an avocado, the camera reveals whether or not the fruit is ripe.
This technology has been around for several years and is used in everything from satellite imaging and energy monitoring to infrastructure and food safety inspections. However the technology’s high cost has made it unsuitable for personal use. With this new design, the scientists have concluded the camera would only cost $50 to be implemented with smart phones.
If this technology becomes incorporated into cell phones, it would make grocery shopping much easier and would make finding veins on a person’s arm a much less difficult job for nurses.
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