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Research & Innovation

Hawk-eyed smartphone scanner

Hyperspectral cameras can be used to scan food products for freshness, reveal hidden repairs to chassis parts and test the authenticity of medicines and luxury goods. The HawkSpex Mobile from Fraunhofer IFF is the first version of this technology to work on a regular smartphone.

26 May. 2018
Fraunhofer IFF HawkSpex

Smartphones are part and parcel of everyday life and have long since moved way beyond plain old communications devices, as onboard sensors such as gyroscopes, cameras and GPS open up entirely new practical functions when combined with specially developed apps. A whole range of these additional features aims to turn smartphones into affordable, user-friendly measuring and monitoring devices that are always close to hand. The Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management IFF in Magdeburg has now developed the innovative HawkSpex Mobile method complete with app that transforms regular smartphones into customized constituent cameras.

The process, which is being unveiled at CEBIT 2018 in Hannover, requires features that smartphones don't normally come with as standard. For example, to perform hyperspectral photography, light needs to be broken down into narrow-band spectral channels and this is achieved by combining controllable lighting with a standard color camera. That means switching through a sequence of different colors that fill the smartphone display while taking a series of photographs with the front-facing camera. This process is used to measure the light reflected from the object, which is being illuminated in a controlled and defined manner. It only takes a few hundred milliseconds to create a hyperspectral image that is based on the sequence of lighting colors, which can be paremeterized in terms of color and quantity to suit the specific application scenario. The accompanying app enables user interaction, controls the synchronous lighting/photography and creates a link to a spectral applications database that customers can help gradually expand to cover a whole range of applications.

Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management IFF (39106 Magdeburg, Germany), Hall 27, Stand E78

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