Nav: Home

Wireless handheld spectrometer transmits data to smartphone

November 08, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Spectral images, which contain more color 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 and may eventually be used for point-of-care medical diagnosis in remote locations.

Potential applications of the new device include detecting oxygen saturation in a person's blood, determining the freshness of meat in the grocery store and identifying fruit that 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, pork and a person's hand. The new device can detect wavelengths from 400 to 676 nanometers at 186 spots simultaneously.

"The easiest way to use a spectrometer is to wave it over the part of the body or 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. The cradle can be hard to align correctly and makes it awkward to wave the smartphone over the body."

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 centimeters in diameter.

Using off-the-shelf components

The new pencil-like spectrometer uses all commercially-available components that can be purchased for less than $300 (US). The light source is an array of white LEDs, which connects to an off-the-shelf optical lens tube with the CMOS detector and other optical components necessary for spectral imaging.

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 -- the iron-containing protein that gives meat its color--in a piece of pork. They also used it to scan a person's hand, obtaining a 16-second video containing 200 spectral images. From the 3D spectral images, the researchers could distinguish five fingers and the palm and saw differences in hemoglobin distribution in various parts of the hand.

The researchers are also interested in using their compact imaging spectrometer for environmental monitoring. "We're developing distributed spectral cameras that could be used for a wide range of ocean surveys, such as detecting dissolved organic matter in water or pigments that indicate early signs of harmful algal blooms," said Cai. "Since the imaging spectrometer can connect to any type of camera, we are also examining the idea of attaching it to the camera of an autonomous vehicle to create a remote ocean sensing system."

Optimizing the system

Although using commercially-available components to make the prototype means that anyone can assemble the device, it also places some limits on resolution and sensitivity. For example, the prototype can only resolve wavelengths that differ by at least 17 nanometers.

"We expect significant spectral resolution improvements in the future by using an improved camera with a long focal length lens," said Dan Wang, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China, a member of the research team. "These improvements would expand the applications for the device."

The researchers also plan to develop software to make the spectral imager even more useful. "We want to develop ways to use machine learning algorithms to analyze the massive amounts of data that could be collected with the portable spectra imager," said Sailing He, Zhejiang University, China, a member of the research team. "We also want to create software for smartphones that uses spectral imaging data to measure meat freshness, for example."
-end-
Paper: F. Cai, D. Wang, M. Zhu, S. He, "A pencil-like imaging spectrometer for bio-samples sensing," Biomed. Opt. Express, Volume 8, Issue 12, 5427-5436 (2017). DOI: 10.1364/BOE.8.005427.

About Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express is OSA's principal outlet for serving the biomedical optics community with rapid, open-access, peer-reviewed papers related to optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences. The journal scope encompasses theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, and biomedical studies and clinical applications. It is published by The Optical Society and edited by Christoph Hitzenberger, Medical University of Vienna. Biomedical Optics Express is an open-access journal and is available at no cost to readers online at OSA Publishing.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

Media Contacts:

Rebecca B. Andersen
The Optical Society
randersen@osa.org
1-202-416-1443

Joshua Miller
The Optical Society
jmiller@osa.org
1-202-416-1435

The Optical Society

Related Smartphone Articles:

App analyzes coronavirus genome on a smartphone
A team led by Garvan's Dr Ira Deveson developed the app 'Genopo' that can analyse the coronavirus genome on a portable Android device.
Smartphone accelerometers could help in resistance workouts and rehabilitation protocols
Smartphone accelerometers are effective tools to measure key time-under-tension indicators of muscle training -- and could help in resistance-based workouts and rehabilitation protocols.
Parents' smartphone use does not harm parent/child relationships
Contrary to popular views, parental smartphone use is rarely associated with poor parenting, and more often than not, tends to be associated with warm and attached parenting.
The effects of smartphone use on parenting
Parents may worry that spending time on their smartphones has a negative impact on their relationships with their children.
Inexpensive retinal diagnostics via smartphone
Retinal damage due to diabetes is now considered the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults.
Nanosensor can alert a smartphone when plants are stressed
MIT engineers can closely track how plants respond to stresses such as injury, infection, and light damage using sensors made of carbon nanotubes.
Smartphone apps not accurate enough to spot all skin cancers
Smartphone apps that assess the risk of suspicious moles cannot be relied upon to detect all cases of skin cancer, finds a review of the evidence published by The BMJ today.
Detecting mental and physical stress via smartphone
The team led by Professor Enrico Caiani of the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, has shown that it is possible to use our smartphones without any other peripherals or wearables to accurately extract vital parameters, such as heart beat rate and stress level.
Smartphone app reminds heart patients to take their pills
Heart patients using a smartphone app reminder are more likely to take their medication than those who receive written instructions, according to a study presented at the 45th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC 2019).
Object identification and interaction with a smartphone knock
A KAIST team has featured a new technology, 'Knocker', which identifies objects and executes actions just by knocking on it with the smartphone.
More Smartphone News and Smartphone Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.