German engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering have designed a prototype 5D hyperspectral camera capable of measuring the surface shape and spectral characteristics of macroscopic objects.
Five dimensions, or 5D, represents measuring multiple wavelengths of reflected light, along with spatial coordinates, as a function of time. The new system offers a wide range of potential applications, including medical imaging, security, optical-sorting, and even grocery shopping.
The camera system is about the size of a laptop, measuring out at 200 X 425mm, and features a pair of hyperspectral snapshot cameras, a GOBO (GOes Before Optics) projector, and an illuminating projector to measure an object’s topography and spectral properties.
The system identifies specific points on the surface of an object using imaging from both camera position views and uses them to create different data-points in space. If the object has a texture-less surface, then the high-speed pattern projector is used to encode surface parameters, and thus create the needed points in a given area.
The imaging system requires no contact with the object being measured, and as a result, the platform could be used to garner data on valuable artifacts or precious works of art. The engineers demonstrated this type of applications by digitally documenting a historical relief globe from 1885.
They were also able to create NIR 5D models of a person’s hand, proving that the system could be used to detect veins for a new kind of medical imaging machine. A final demonstration showed that the engineers were capable of displaying a change in citrus leaves while absorbing water using the hyperspectral imaging system, making it a valuable tool for agriculture applications.
The engineers are now looking at using different cameras in their system for various applications — including using thermal cameras to capture data from inflating airbags in an effort to make them more effective.