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Thousand-color sensor reveals contaminants in Earth and sea
Date:11/2/2011

The world may seem painted with endless color, but physiologically the human eye sees only three bands of light red, green, and blue. Now a Tel Aviv University-developed technology is using colors invisible to the naked eye to analyze the world we live in. With the ability to detect more than 1,000 colors, the "hyperspectral" (HSR) camera, like Mr. Spock's sci-fi "Tricorder," is being used to "diagnose" contaminants and other environmental hazards in real time.

Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor of TAU's Department of Geography and the Human Environment says that reading this extensive spectrum of color allows the sensor to analyze 300 times more information than the human brain can process. Small and easy to use, the sensor can provide immediate, cost-effective, and accurate monitoring of forests, urban areas, agricultural lands, harbors, or marinas areas which are often endangered by contaminants and phenomena such as soil erosion or sediment dust. Using the hyperspectral camera will ultimately lead to better protection and treatment of the environment.

The HSR sensor, detailed in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment, has both commercial and scientific applications, says Prof. Ben-Dor, who has consulted for local and foreign space agencies in their use of the technology. These applications can include anything from helping companies adhere to regulations on environmental contamination to measuring the extent of environmental damage caused by forest fires.

From far and wide

The sensor interprets reflected sunlight radiation that bounces off an object, material, or environment. Each reflected color represents a different chemical reaction between two compounds. "A combination of absorption or reflection of energy creates the color that the HSR sensor sees," explains Prof. Ben-Dor. The sensor's extensive range reading information from as close as 0.4 inches and as far as 500 miles away means it can be placed anywhere f
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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