Shoppers could soon use their mobile phones to check how ripe fruit and vegetables are with an “X-ray vision” camera.
The HyperCam, based on hyperspectral（高光谱的）imaging, can assess ripeness with 94 per cent accuracy and could also be used to check for rotting produce in the fridge at home. Scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle managed to create a portable hyperspectral imaging camera that would cost $800 (£520).
Hyperspectral imaging uses a broader range of the electromagnetic spectrum(电磁波谱) than an ordinary camera. The researchers are now working on a version of the technology that shoppers could download on to a mobile phone for about $50. The technology is already used in satellite imaging, building safety inspection, but is a highly costly process.
Professor Shwetak Patel, of the University of Washington, said: “It’s not there yet but you can probably imagine putting it in a mobile phone. With this kind of camera you could go to the grocery store and know what produce to pick by looking underneath the skin and seeing if there’s anything wrong inside. It’s like having a food safety app in your pocket.”
Neel Joshi, a Microsoft researcher, said: “Existing systems are costly and hard to use so we decided to create an inexpensive hyperspectral camera and explore these uses ourselves. After building the camera we just started pointing it at everyday objects, really anything we could find in our homes and offices, and we were amazed at all the hidden information it revealed.”
Other potential uses for the technology include analyzing blood vessels（血管） and identifying individual people by the unique texture（纹理） of their skin.