Thursday, March 24, 2011

What could infrared imaging do for you?

If you didn’t “get” the witty visual gag I shared with you in my last post, “Bringing out the physics geek,” let me explain. The parking spaces were numbered in wavelengths of light. Thus the green car was in space 532, the yellow in 561 and so on. Space 1054 appeared empty because we can’t see light of that wavelength: it’s infrared.

But what would we see if we could? Well
Sensors Unlimited, who specialize in short wave infrared cameras, have some great examples on their web site. A few minutes browsing through their gallery might give you some ideas for that particularly challenging inspection problem you’ve been chewing on for months.

Now, before you pick up the phone to find out just how expensive their fantastic cameras are, let me offer another suggestion. Most regular machine vision cameras have some sensitivity to IR light, (if yours has an IR cutoff filter over the sensor try removing it before playing with IR illumination,) so get your hands on an IR security light and find out what you can do. This won’t get you in to the real SWIR part of the spectrum, but it might be far enough along to help with fruit, glass or plastic inspection.

Don’t forget to let me know of any successes you have with near IR imaging!

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