Imec’s prototype hyperspectral camera can capture multiple types of data about materials or different parts of the same object. This could help in the development of automatic object classification systems that rival those used in state-of-the-art hyperspectral references and recorded spectra of plant material. The innovation could lead to small, cost-efficient cameras that can be adapted easily into vision systems.
The prototype chip's hyperspectral filter, which Imec developed, has 100 spectral bands between 560nm and 1,000nm. The filter bandwidth ranges from 3nm at 560nm to 20nm at 1,000nm, and the transmission efficiency is approximately 85 percent. Under illumination by a 450W halogen light, the prototype's typical image integration times are between 2 and 10 milliseconds.
Imec has been working on the development of a hyperspectral sensor for some time, based on its research reports from 2010 and 2009. Some of those efforts targeted machine vision, medical, and security applications.
The speed of Imec's demonstration system corresponds to an equivalent line speed of 2,000 lines per second -- much faster than current hyperspectral sensors. To adapt the technology to different industrial vision application requirements, a different commercially available or custom image sensor could be substituted with different pixel sizes and frame rates. The number of spectral bands and the spectral resolution of the hyperspectral filters can also be changed.