In the future, hyperspectral eyes will help in vertical farming

In the future, hyperspectral eyes will help in vertical farming, autonomous driving, and surveillance drones. The successors of the East German multispectral cameras for cosmonauts can now determine quite accurately, even from a distance, which treasures are still lying dormant in old mining dumps or whether the lettuce plant on the urban vegetable growing shelf needs more fertilizer.

Under the leadership of Fraunhofer IWS, a European consortium of industry and science is developing a modular, cloud-based platform for the semi-automated evaluation of spectrally high-resolution images. “With innovative photonic components and the use of AI algorithms, we strive to translate image data into relevant functional product properties,” explains Alexander Kabardiadi-Virkovski, who acts as head of the HyperImage project at Fraunhofer IWS. “This will enable us to classify products and make decisions more easily and quickly, as well as monitor processes better.” The research partners also want to develop and test algorithms to harmonize and standardize hyperspectral data from European camera and cloud infrastructure manufacturers. This standard should unify the variety of existing image formats and enable the transferability of image information between different camera manufacturers.

The measurement setup serves to analyze the surface quality of structured semiconductor wafers. It features specialized hyperspectral measuring devices. The Fraunhofer Application Center for Optical Metrology and Surface Engineering (AZOM) at Fraunhofer IWS focuses on the investigation and evaluation of complex surfaces.

Increasing quality and efficiency in four industries
The project results will be used for quality control in high-performance electronics production, monitoring automated vertical plant cultivation, integrating spectral image-based vision and navigation functions in autonomous vehicles, and developing a high-resolution hyperspectral vision system for unmanned geo-surveillance drones.

These use cases serve to position HyperImage as a universal solution for object recognition, detailed product and material analysis, and reliable quality control in various industries. The automated platform will increase yields and reduce production costs in vertical farming, save fuel, increase operating speeds for autonomous off-road driving, reduce weight, and increase flight time for drones.

For more information:
Fraunhofer IME

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