Hyperspectral imaging is used for a varied amount of uses, but HyperCam offers a peek beneath the skin with a minimal cost, not matter which task you choose it to perform. This could utilized in a few fields, but the researchers seem more focused on making information available about fruit ripeness or its use as a biometric tool.
Researchers at the University of Washington partnered with Microsoft Research to create HyperCam, a low cost device to be used in addition to the average smartphone camera. More simply put, it can essentially snap x-ray pictures that see beneath the skin of fruits or even humans.
Hyperspectral imagining is frequently used in numerous fields, ranging from geology, to medicine, or even archaeology. It’s a highly useful tool that can reveal details invisible to the naked eye. However, most technologies developed are difficult to use, and not to mention incredibly costly. Researchers have found a way for anyone to get it for only $50.
HyperCam is mainly intended for frequent use through grocery stores, while looking over across several fruits. By using 17 different wavelengths, it can reveal the ripeness of a fruit beneath its skin by generating an image for each in part. According to one of the researchers, it’s “like having a food safety app in your pocket”.
Through using both the visible and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, HyperCam can display hidden details beneath the thin skin of a fruit or even a human. It would be a helpful tool while browsing through the varied range of fruits to test their ripeness. This will essentially replace the need to do it yourself, which is rather time consuming.
The team of researchers tested 10 different fruits over the course of one week, ranging from avocados to strawberries. They found that their HyperCam can detect the readiness of each fruit in part with an impressive 94% accuracy. This might eliminate the time you spent weighing, poking, and gripping at fruits, but it might also raise some brows of other customers at the person looking at the products through his phone.
The researchers also used their HyperCam as a biometric tool, to display the vein patterns beneath the skin of 25 people. Through the same technology, it had a near flawless 99% accuracy of differentiating between the participants. It could be considered like a ‘x-ray in your pocket’. The purpose for which you use it, however, is entirely up to you.
There are certain drawbacks though. For one, it’s the sheer volume of images it will produce. That will require the user to peruse through them until they find the one best suited to their needs. It could certainly be highly time-consuming until it receives more improvements.
Furthermore, HyperCam faces the major issue of not being particularly effective in bright lights. The camera’s sensor could get confused, so you might have to ask a grocery store employee to turn off the lights for it to work.
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