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New smart-phone compatible device identifies the ripeness of bananas
Spectral images, which contain more colour information than is obtainable with a typical camera, reveal characteristics of tissue and other biological samples that can't be seen by the naked eye.
A new smartphone-compatible device that is held like a pencil could make it practical to acquire spectral images of everyday objects like bananas.
Potential applications of the new device identifies if the fruit is the perfect ripeness. The spectrometer could also make it easier to acquire spectral data in the field for scientific studies.
In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Biomedical Optics Express, the researchers describe how to make the new pencil-like spectrometer and demonstrate its ability to acquire spectral images of bananas.
"The easiest way to use a spectrometer is to wave it over the part of the object being examined," said first author Fuhong Cai, Hainan University, China. "However, many home-made portable spectrometers use a smartphone camera to acquire data and a phone cradle that contains other necessary optics."
Rather than using a smartphone camera to acquire images, the new spectrometer uses a commercially available complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) camera that wirelessly transmits images to a smartphone. This approach allowed the researchers to assemble a cylindrical spectral imaging device weighing just 140 grams (about 5 ounces) that is about the length of smartphone and just over 3 centimetres in diameter.
One can use the pencil-like spectrometer simply by moving it across the target area by hand. This manual push-broom scanning process builds up a series of spectral images that are sent to a smartphone or computer where software stitches the spectral images together into a 3D spectral image data cube.
The researchers tested the spectrometer by using it to detect banana ripeness and levels of myoglobin.
Publication date: 11/10/2017
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