The invention by Tel Aviv University researchers would be able to turn smartphones into powerful hyperspectral sensors, capable of identifying the chemical components of objects from a distance.

Prof. David Mendlovic of TAU's School of Electrical Engineering and his doctoral student, Ariel Raz, havecombined the two necessary parts of this invention: an optical component and image processing software.

Prof. Mendlovic and Raz, together with a team of researchers at the Unispectral Technologies firm, patented an optical component based on existing microelectromechanical or "MEMS" technology, suitable for mass production and compatible with standard smartphone camera designs.

The combination of this optical component and newly designed software go further than current smartphone cameras by offering superior imaging performance and hyperspectral imaging capabilities.

Unispectral is in talks with other companies to analyze data from its cameras' images. This back-end analyzer would need a large database of hyperspectral signatures at its disposal. Applications of the sensor include remote health monitoring and industrial quality control.