How Advanced Is Hyperspectral Techology?

I tend to read a lot about tech in general, and certainly the folks at Tigerdirect know that I likes my gadgets. I’ve always been a proponent of actual usable tech, and so naturally I read with interest this article, which claimed that Hyperspectral Imaging is the future. That we’ll see it being used everywhere. That we can expect it on our telephones soon. That there really won’t be an end to its applications.

comparing-multi-hyperTo that, I say: have you heard of nanotechnology? If not, well, you probably should have been listening to pundits back in the early 2000s. Nanotech was supposed to change everything and make everything absolutely wonderful forever. I’m not going to say that it didn’t have its applications (ok, so laptops today are amazing, and frankly cell phones would probably be nowhere without nano-tech), but at the same time the investment case for Nano was really based around a lot of vapor and not a lot of reality.

That’s not to say that Hyperspectral Imaging doesn’t have its technology leaders – it does -? and certainly the potential of the technology is pretty amazing. But is it just that? It’s tough to say right now, because if you actually look at some of the costs behind developing and creating a well functioning Hyperspectral or multispectral imager are pretty huge. It’s a niche, to say the least.

Make It So

Who doesn’t love the idea of, as the article above’s author notes, a Star Trek like “tricorder”. That’s some pretty amazing stuff. Certainly, there are already a lot of things (like barcode scanners, etc) that your cellphone can do that are already pretty awesome. But the idea of drawing full hyperspectral imaging data and then correctly assessing and processing that data using your Blackberry (I hope nobody reading this has a Blackberry – get out of the 90s already!) seems a little far fetched.

But, naturally, I watching some of the industry’s innovators with a keen focus over the next few years. If anything, we will soon discover whether hyperspectral is just a niche technology that miners and farmers can use, or if it’s something we can call up in an app to scan a garment for structural flaws when we’re shopping at the local JC Penney.

We’ll see, as ever. Miniaturization is something that comes once a technology is actually perfected. And we are probably quite a bit from there.

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