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Researchers develop spectroscopic ‘science camera’ system for smartphones

Sep 15, 2017

The latest versions of most smartphones contain at least two and sometimes three built-in cameras. Researchers at the University of Illinois would like to sell mobile device manufactures on the idea of adding yet another image sensor as a built-in capability for health diagnostic, environmental monitoring, and general-purpose color sensing applications.

Three years ago, the National Science Foundation provided a pair of University of Illinois professors with a grant to develop technology called “Lab-in-a-Smartphone.” Over that time, the research teams of Brian Cunningham, Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, and John Dallesasse, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, have published papers detailing potential ways the mobile devices could provide health diagnostic tests and other measurements normally performed in a laboratory setting.

Their latest efforts demonstrate that mobile devices incorporating their sensor can provide accurate measurements of optical absorption spectra of colored liquids or the optically scattered spectra of solid objects. In other words, a mobile device incorporating the lab-in-a-smartphone “science camera” could accurately read liquid-based or paper-based medical tests in which the end result is a material that changes from one color to another in the presence of a specific analyte.

Continue reading at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uoic-rds091317.php