Bridging research with innovative products: Specim IQ – a compact, portable VNIR hyperspectral imaging camera
In late 2017, the Specim IQ Hyperspectral Imaging Camera marked a shift in the evolution of hyperspectral imaging from a mounted, scanning application to the possibility of a lightweight and mobile analysis method without sacrificing the high spectral resolution required to perform detailed and meaningful analysis. It presents itself in the style of the point and shoot cameras we take for granted, albeit with the benefit of taking hyperspectral images in the VIS-NIR spectrum (400-1000nm). Almost a year on from its original unveiling, the Specim IQ has found itself used in a number of applications that one would not have necessarily foreseen had it not been a mobile instrument, which begs the question: where will hyperspectral imaging find its next calling?
The camera itself is simple to operate; it has a large touch screen and assignable buttons, image processing on board, storage on SD cards, the usual things one would expect from a normal digital camera. This is likely the reason why the Specim IQ has found itself in fields that one wouldn’t usually consider for hyperspectral imaging at first glance. However, a normal digital camera does not have 204 spectral bands and NIR capabilities, thus the Specim IQ grants anyone who can use a normal camera the opportunity to take hyperspectral images.
Specim itself have found increased use of the IQ for example in food analysis and plant health. Since the Specim IQ’s imaging method relies on the light reflected by an object, by illuminating your sample with a broadband light source, the spectra detected by the camera can provide information about the sample that simply looking at it may not reveal. As a hyperspectral camera, subtle changes in colour, and notably a change in the reflected intensity of infrared radiation, are instantly and starkly noticeable when analysing an image. This can give an indication of whether fruit is ripe, whether food is starting to go off, or even whether there are contaminations to a well-characterised sample. The IQ itself has a function where one can store a spectral signature of a known object and this can then be shown as a false colour overlay on subsequent pictures, making identification of defects or contaminations easy and immediately obvious in commonly sampled objects.
The Specim IQ is also finding itself used in art analysis and recently verified that a suspected Monet painting was authentic after uncovering a signature and date visible in the NIR but covered in a layer of paint (for more information, please visit our website ). It has also seen use in the health sector and crime investigation, which, like art analysis, benefit from non-destructive testing methods. Particularly in crime investigation, it is important that contamination does not occur during the course of an investigation. Independent investigations have show that hyperspectral imaging may be useful in identifying the time after a crime based on the blood colour deterioration, identifying gunshot residue patterns without the need for chemical dye which can alter trajectory angles, or matching paint residue from vehicles in hit and run incidents to identify specific vehicle models. While some of these investigations could be done with a standard hyperspectral imaging setup, without the need for large scanning rigs, the Specim IQ allows hyperspectral imaging to now be performed in smaller, more confined locations without having to move objects of interest, which may be essential in many instances.
If current trends continue to show interest in the in need for more portable hyperspectral imaging systems, the Specim IQ will certainly be remembered as a leader in this shift. It will be interesting to see what hyperspectral imaging applications arise in the next few years given the portability and functionality of such devices and the evolution of hyperspectral cameras and the market itself in response to these applications and customer demand.
For more information on the Specim IQ and its applications, you can contact Ben Parker of Quantum Design UK and Ireland, Specim’s regional distributor, at email@example.com .
|Ben will also be giving a presentation on the Specim IQ in the HSI 2018 Conference on Thursday the 11th at 11:35 in Theatre 8 Lounge North.|
Based in Oulu, Finland, Specim is a pioneer and a global leader in the hyperspectral imaging industry and are at the forefront with new technological solutions applied to hyperspectral imaging. With more than 5000 spectrographs, hyperspectral imagers and systems delivered and in daily use, SPECIM continues to serve their customers by recognizing and meeting their needs. For more information please visit http://www.specim.fi/ .
Quantum Design UK and Ireland are one of the leading distributors of high-tech instrumentation and consumables for scientific, academic and industrial research and are part of the Quantum Design International (QDI) group. QDI’s success in distributing scientific products comes from more than 30 years’ experience in manufacturing and distributing its own industry-leading materials characterisation systems. For more information please visit https://www.qd-uki.co.uk/index.php .