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Hyperspectral camera detects counterfeit medicine and traces of blood

Specim Oy, a VTT spin-off, has developed the world’s first mobile hyperspectral camera for the fast, high-level analysis of a range of samples.

Specim Oy, a VTT spin-off, has developed the world’s first mobile hyperspectral camera for the fast, high-level analysis of a range of samples. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland contributed its own expertise to the development project, in the form of fast measurement data processing algorithms and methods. The extremely high-precision hyperspectral camera, which resembles a normal digicamera, recognises materials and their differences from an image and provides results immediately on-site. Such information can be used to detect plant diseases, skin diseases, counterfeit art, faults in food and medicines, or detecting and identifying traces of blood and other samples at crime scenes.

The hyperspectral camera measures the intensity of light in different wavelengths when reflecting off a surface. The measured spectrum reveals the chemical composition of a sample and is thereby a ‘fingerprint’ of a subject’s material. In practice, a spectral image can be used to identify the substances and materials in a sample by comparing the spectrum measured  with known spectra in a library.

“A high-precision hyperspectral camera can see visible and near infrared wavelengths of 400-1,000 nanometers, whereas the human eye can only see visible wavelengths of 400-700 nanometers. In addition to detecting a wider spectrum, the camera is far superior to the human eye in terms of its wavelength resolution,” says Senior Scientist Pasi Hyttinen from VTT.

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Customer story: Monitoring plant wellbeing more accurately, more quickly

Hyperspectral imaging is an extremely accurate method to identify and distinguish different materials based on the light reflection properties of chemical compounds. Specim set out to miniaturise chemical imaging from bulky industrial equipment down to a hand-held, point-and-shoot device for more efficient plant stress and disease monitoring.

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