Face Recognition Improves Thanks to Illumination Variances

Face recognition software is still in its infancy, and as such, some issues still remain with accuracy and ability. Systems have actually gotten quite good at methods of recognition under strict variable control; problems arise when a human face is under a shadow or obscured even slightly. Of course, these situations (shadows, partial images, etc.) are when facial recognition software would be at its most valuable, so it’s important to find ways in which to enhance the technology. As a leader in light measurement instrumentation, we are sharing how illumination variances improve facial recognition.

With that in mind, researchers have unveiled a fresh approach to face recognition technology that uses light measurement instrumentation to cut through hazy illumination and still accurately identify a person. Said researchers, based at Toyohashi University of Technology in Aichi, Japan, use an extended reflectance model that processes faces no matter what visual lighting obstacle may be causing obstruction in the first place. Named OptiFuzz, the system uses an algorithm to run a large array of illumination ratios (or possibilities) and systematically focus in on areas of obscurity.

In this way, according to lead professor Jun Miura, “By just adding this contrast adjustment to present face recognition systems, we can largely improve the accuracy and performance of face detection and recognition.” These improvements look to filter out the negative results that come with the effect of contrasted light and make face recognition software more agile and precise.

These new methods were run through a gamut of tests, including Viola-Jones Face Detector and the Mutual Subspace Method. These tests proved largely successful, so much so that researchers believe that their new methods could become useful under even the harshest illumination situations. And it’s important to note that even with advances in face recognition software, currently, techniques are only in place that work under full and consistent facial illumination.

Careful calibration of the contrast adjustment is key to success within the OptiFuzz system, and furthermore, light measurement instrumentation must be equally to task in calibrating and maintaining such a system.  The system is still in an experimental phase, and even though scientists at the Toyohashi University of Technology are confident enough to release these findings, suitable systems for recognition replication will have to become codified. It’s here that a company steeped in light calibration technology can be of particular use, and Gooch & Housego finds itself uniquely positioned and excited for further developments in light contrast face recognition systems. For more information, contact the leader in light measurement instrumentation, Gooch & Housego, at (800) 899-3171.

A Microscope is Not Needed in Counting Some Microscopic Particles

For something to be physically microscopic, it would seem entirely logical to assume such an object would require a microscope to view. Perhaps, no longer. Scientists working together from Australia and Russia have devised a new system for viewing particles in optical substance by simply using a laser. And with proper light measurement instrumentation, the process can be fine-tuned to the point where electron microscopes need not be used to detect and count particles. The study was recently published in Nature’s online Scientific Reports.

In theory, by taking out expensive and difficult-to-use high-structured microscopes, optical devices will be run through designing phases more quickly. The research teams were from ITMO University, Ioffe Institute, and Australian National University; their work was complex yet illuminating. Essentially, when designing optical circuits, scientists must be able to see on a nanoscale-level and consistently tweak and control how light is broadcast through the optics. This work is difficult, because the equipment necessary to measure particle fluctuation is cumbersome. This new process uses light scatterers, whereby a beam can be put through a sample, and the particles are basically counted by the pattern.

As told more incisively by Mikhail Rybin, one of the leaders of the study: “Our method makes it possible to study optical materials without changing their structure in contrast to electron microscopy, where the sample surface has to be covered with conductive metal layer, which impairs optical properties of the sample.” Most current testing requires that samples be sacrificed, but with scattering laser technology, no such compromise need be made. And with this possibility now opened, costs for optic device creation could be drastically lowered.

The technique focused specifically on photonic crystals and metasurfaces. Scientists determined what type of “sample” each would give off when subjected to laser light. Once this base scatter pattern was determined, it could then be compared easily to any test of a similar material; this allowed the teams to determine what particles were falling outside of normal parameters. Intense and highly-calibrated light measurement instrumentation was required to create such a system, as detecting small scale light patterns is key to this new technique being effective. In the future, these techniques may be used in product creation by Gooch and Housego, but in the present our systems could be of use in furthering the functionality of such research. Contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll free at 800-899-3171 for more information. Also feel free to email us at orlandosales@goochandhousego.com.

Harnessing Solar Energy is More Efficient Thanks to New Technique

The amount of energy available to us from the sun is (in a pragmatic sense) basically unlimited. But gathering that energy, and doing so in an efficient manner, has always been the complication when talking about the use of solar power. Now, with some new techniques involving light measurement instrumentation, scientists are taking powerful steps forward in the race for more and more efficient solar cells.

A recent report released by scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as well as Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) showed a pathway for using perovskite solar cells at higher rate. Perovskite film has been used for a long time in the world of solar energy, but efficiency standards have not come up drastically or nearly on a level as was hoped. Researchers looked into this problem with the backing of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. In a very basic sense, what they did was treat damaged film with a solution of methyl ammonium bromide, as well as converting poor quality perovskite to a high-grade with more graining and less microscopic holes (the holes allow for energy release; grains capture solar energy).

In accomplishing this process, the efficiency of the treated perovskite cells went up nearly 22 percent. The process for creating perovskite cells as used by the teams was called an Ostwald ripening process, which is a departure from traditional methods. The researchers stressed that one of the keys to the entire process was the skill of each individual laboratory, as well as their testing and standards. Light measurement instrumentation available to test perovskite cells must be finely tuned, as researchers found that efficiency enhancements could fluctuate by between 15 and 20 percent depending on the talent and hardware of the lab making the film.

But benefits when properly done cannot be overstated, so maintaining standards and testing during perovskite film creation is absolutely critical. The DOE’s Energy SunShot Initiative is a serious and cutting-edge effort to bring solar energy efficiency on equal footing with current widely used carbon energy systems. The project, which began 5-years ago, is 70% of the way to its stated goal, and according to another study released by the NRE Laboratory, achieving this goal could save an estimated $400 billion dollars in energy costs by 2050. It’s for these reasons that cell production and solar hardware are so critical, and it is in the realm of standards and instrumental testing that Gooch & Housego is uniquely positioned to help.

In order to evaluate the performance devices such as this innovative product, high accuracy precision instrumentation is a must. Our OL 750 series sets the standard for excellence in this field. Contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll free at 800-899-3171 for more information. Also feel free to email us at orlandosales@goochandhousego.com.

LEDs Helping to Map the Bottom of the Ocean Floor

The ocean floor is truly our last frontier. More is known about the outer regions of the solar system than this vast dark labyrinth humming miles beneath our sandy feet and in the deep reaches of the sea. It’s a vibrant place, not just ecologically, but geographically, as underwater mountain ranges flex and contort. Lately, the mapping of this subterranean area has been getting a boost from an unlikely source: LEDs.

Created by a squad at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, a device called the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) is using LED-imaging software to noninvasively map the seafloor at a sublime level. More specifically, as the name suggests, a microscopic level. The seafloor offers some hyper-specific challenges for anyone trying to map it, most relating to instrument positioning and, in this case, LED calibration. Aquatic-based measurement instruments have always had issues with the versatile nature of the environment they are trying to capture, as well as the highly sensitive data that is necessary in an area that is not a lab.

But the scientists at Scripps in charge of the BUM used a multitude of techniques to overcome these obstacles and one of the foremost was focused LED lights. The scientists used a custom-designed set of six LED lights for short and ultra high-definition snapshots of the seafloor. This, in conjunction with microscopic lenses as well as fitted software to intake all appropriate (and rare) data, created a sophisticated piece of technology that can map the ocean floor while not disturbing it.

LEDs were critical in this process by accomplishing tasks common lighting elements could not. Enhanced imaging techniques and precisely guided angles are key in getting a reading on the ocean floor that is both consistent and deep. Andrew Mullen, a BUM administrator noted that “the system is capable of seeing features as small as single cells underwater.” This level of clarity, assisted with LED technology, is allowing the team to study coral reefs and underwater structures from as distant a landscape as the Red Sea to Maui. The discoveries found by enhanced imagery are helping our understanding of how underwater ecosystems survive and flourish.

In a time when corals are facing unprecedented challenges, anything related to improving LED calibration and performance can do to help their circumstance is more than welcomed. Future studies and research using BUM technology can improve our knowledge of the constant evolution of ocean bottoms, and. in theory, provide us with key information to protecting these natural areas. The world’s oceans are our planet’s largest biosystems, and by understanding them on a more precise microscopic level, we better understand and protect ourselves. LED lighting technology is at the forefront of this work and as LED calibration techniques improve, the hope of more accurate mapping continues to grow with it.

Product Spotlight: OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer for FDA Sunscreen Testing

As our awareness towards the damages of UV rays continues to grow, it’s become more obvious, as well as critical to the general public, that the use a proper sunscreen is essential. From skin cancer to simple skin damage, the issues that long-term and intense exposure to the sun can cause are myriad. But to mitigate these damages, a sunscreen is not guaranteed to be useful: quality controls can be scattershot and not all are created equally. Sunscreen can be an incredible resource for skin health, but only if it’s been created properly.

Given this quandary, enter the OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer. This incredible product from Gooch and Housego is the only portable instrument that meets FDA-level standards to test which sunscreens can be deemed “broad spectrum” in their application. Broad spectrum sunscreen is quantified as a substance that can protect from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause damage deep into your skin’s layers, and UVB rays can wreak havoc on the outer surfaces. But either way, both have the potential to cause damage, and the very best sunscreens are created with these risks in mind.

The OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer is designed to separate the imposters from the legitimate. Its design is rugged and portable, perfectly suited for road work. Battery operable over several hours, this spectroradiometer is among the top of its class in this line of cutting-edge ultraviolet light-testing products. As a self-contained double monochrometer, this product works in the 200 to 800 nm range.

And the applications are multifold; beyond the ability to measure UV exposure on skin and fabric, the device works for tanning beds, solar tests, and lamp UV systems. Contact us today at 800-899-3171 for pricing and more information. Also, please feel free to contact us online.

Product Spotlight: OL 455-6KSA Ultra-High Uniformity Calibration Standard

As an industry leader for over two decades in the highly specialized world of integrated spheres, Gooch & Housego is uniquely positioned to create some of the most progressive instruments on the planet within this arena. With a variety of ranges, forms, configurations, and applications, odds are we have a product that fits your need.

One of our newest entries in this realm of light measurement is the OL 455-6KSA Ultra-High Uniformity Calibration standard. This creation has an image sensor calibration capability that is unmatched within the marketplace due to an array of new features and useful instrumentation. Comparisons of uniformity when measured against our standard OL455-6 sphere show striking results. And with the continued boom in LED lighting, calibration from the use of consistent and exacting photometry will be crucial to remaining within the field.

The OL 455-6KSA has features such as an exceptionally distinctive elongated sphere design, which helps improve uniformity by a factor of 10. Also, the new automated variable aperture drive design allows for smaller seek times when targeting specific luminances: taking another step towards productivity in this sector of integrated spheres. Additionally, the stabilized monitor detector allows for a dependably stable temperature that reduces settling time as an increase or decrease in luminance is requested.

The end result of all these new features for the OL 455-6KSA include better image calibration, a more exacting accuracy, fully automated control, and a wider ambient temperature range. These improvements are remarkable and go a long way to the overall goal of improved calibration standards. As Gooch & Housego continues to vault into the very upper realms of integrating spheres and their theoretical technological ceilings, upgrades and products like the OL-455-6KSA will continue to be our pride and photometric wheelhouse. For more information on purchasing, contact us online, or contact Maureen Knowles at 407-422-3171, ext 206.

Understanding Standards for Hyperspectral Imaging

Standards are a fundamental key to the feasible usage of any piece light measurement instrumentation. Without calibration, high-tech lighting applications can become essentially useless. And as fields expand that look to incorporate some form of imaging or LED technology, the boundaries of what this calibration will be, and even mean, are going to be consistently pushed.
Perhaps nowhere has this been more true in recent years than in the realm of medical research. As researchers, scientists and doctors discover more and more techniques for deploying light wavelengths to both heal and diagnosis, so the specification for the devices they use will increasingly come under pressure.
With this in mind, researchers at National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, have been working with non-invasive screening techniques using hyperspectral imaging. Their work in clinical trials have shown that these methods are radically useful in determining damaged skin tissue without having to resort to the currently common practice of biopsies. Skin biopsies, while accurate, are painful and time-consuming for patients, but there is now some hope that this treatment will soon be a relic of a different age of medical practice as ultra-sensitive light imaging replaces it.
There’s one problem: we don’t have the data. Human skin reflectance is a very unfamiliar field to even the most studied researchers, and we have no usable library of what healthy skin should look like under ultraviolet and short-wave infrared light as compared to unhealthy. It is here that the NIST is putting out a call for help from communities that specialize in light measurement instrumentation, as well as medical research to pull together as much skin reflectance data as possible.

Once a suitable database can be built, the idea is that technicians specializing in this ultra-sensitive imaging process will have something to confirm their diagnosis against. Perhaps one day this process could even be automated. Doctors given the ability to see how diseased tissue is healing or morphing with a hyperspectral image would be tremendous step forward in the healthcare community. Skin itself presents some specific challenges (our biological signatures can be very unique), but with the increasing ability of light instruments, the level of detail available in scans is rising to a place that is medically useful. Machines such as the NIST’s Hyperspectral Image Projector (HIP) are on the cutting edge of this work, and supplemental products to improve its sensitivity and calibration ability will push the medical community further into the future.
Gooch & Housego instrument long involvement with NIST includes supporting their efforts in hyperspectral imaging and beyond. For more information, please call 800-899-3171, or you can contact us online.

LEDs Could Help the Deaf with Hearing Restore

The power and uses of LED technology continue to expand and surprise. The ability to hear would seem like an area where LEDs would never have any specific use, but alas, research by Tobias Moser at the University Medical Center Göttingen in Germany has shown there may be a breakthrough here after all, and LED calibration is at the very center of it.

Cochlear implants are, to put it mildly, not optimal. As useful as they are for the deaf and hearing impaired, they are far from being remarkable. Those who have a regular level of human hearing capabilities can distinguish between around 2000 different sound variations, whereas the deaf with cochlear implants can only discern between around 12. This imbalance is the problem. A recent article noted the similarity between the sound of human speech when filtered through a cochlear implant to what a Dalek sounds like from the Dr. Who series (EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!). Fuzzy and cackled, the implants allow for only some relief for the deaf.

But recent breakthroughs using LED technology may be reversing this, and, potentially, allowing those with hearing disabilities to begin to hear the world in its full beauty. The solution to this is expanding the number of sound variations and frequencies a cochlear implant can attune to. Mr. Tobias Moser believes this can be done by using ontogenetics. Each channel in a cochlear implant must stimulate a nerve in order to create a sound frequency to the listener; this has been traditionally done using electricity, but electricity often merges in human tissue, making for a muddled sound that isn’t of great use (hence, the only 12 useful channels).

Enter light, specifically LED technology. According to Moser: “You can focus light more conveniently than current.” And because of this, you can create additional frequencies and expand the number of sound variations that an implant can generate. Moser’s team is using micro-LED technology with the hopes of taking that dozen or so frequencies into the 100s. This optogenetic concept has shown to be useful in mice, and further trials are planned with the end goal of highly sophisticated LED-powered hearing implants.

According to Moser, these human trials are still years away, as they need to find ways to improve implanted micro-LEDs life capabilities. This is the kind of technology Gooch & Housego thrives in and hopes to push further into the future. Accurate and precise LED test and measurement will be crucial in fine tuning the capabilities of devices, such as cochlear implants. The future of LED technology is wide, and, hopefully, loud.

Deep Brain Imaging & Spectral Transmittance

The brain is complicated. Particularly at the cellular level, where neural pathways and connections are still an object of both mystery and great promise. To map the brain, as intricately as possible, is an elusive goal. But now, as technical ability begins to approach a level on par to that of the ambition in our neuroscience community, new advances are being made in brain mapping. Many of these new approaches are being spearheaded by near-infrared (NIR) detectors, which hinges on the detailed ability of spectral transmittance.

A recent paper by researchers at both the Columbia University and City College of New York outlined some of the promise they have found in recent tests. They describe how they have identified what they are terming a “golden window” for NIR light wavelengths that allows for maximum quality in deep brain imaging. This window, between NIR 1600–1870nm, succeeds in two areas where past imaging techniques (such as multiphoton microscopy) have struggled: light scattering and absorption. This technique allows overall for a deeper and clearer image of the cellular levels of the brain.

The team pointed out the difficulty overall in imaging the brain is due to its unique composition. A combination of water, low-protein, and ultra-dense neural pathways combine to make a formidable challenge. But through careful study, the researchers tested NIR ranges from 600 to 2500nm, and through research using rat brain tissue, found a golden window of light amplification. The optimism in this find was clear: “The golden window represents a significant advance over previous approaches and could have a great impact on the development of microscopy imaging techniques.”

The key to future advancement in this field of deep brain imagery will be controls and careful calibration. The NIR range settings are rather particular, and spectral transmittance will need to be precisely designed. But the understanding of the cellular levels of the brain is one of the great medical frontiers of our time, holding promise for diseases that have far been above our technical ability to treat. Researchers hope to take further steps using laser technology and more advanced equipment in order to expand our understanding of the brain, and Gooch & Housego has the tools and expertise to help you make that next great discovery.

New Detector Technology & White LEDs

As superior LED lighting takes over more and more area in the visible public and private spectrum, photometric standards and detection will become increasingly vital. Gooch & Housego is well-situated with the products and designs to work in this light technology environment. LEDs will continue towards a dominant place in the marketplace, and with the phasing out of incandescent bulbs becoming basically commonplace, LEDs are going to be sited as the new photometric standards.

A recent paper published in Nature, by a joint consortium of scientists from the Metrology Research Institute at Aalto University in Finland and MIKES Metrology at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, looked to explore the possible usable photometric standards when white LEDs were subjected to testing by a photometer called a predictable quantum efficient detector (PQED). What they found was this method takes photometric filters, commonly used in photometry, out of the equation. The new PQED method showed lower expanded uncertainty than customary filters.

It was also noted that even in the realm of photometric filters, if we calibrate said filters using LED lamps as compared to incandescent lamps, and then measure LED photometric standards, the maximum spectral mismatch ratio is significantly lowered (the authors found this be at a magnitude of around three). Although technical, these advances in photometric measurements were specifically noted by the authors to potentially have a “significant economic impact”.

And overall, the paper states clearly that their analysis shows it possible to create definitions based on sensible LED-based illumination sources for photometry. All of this is possible due to the main, and proven, advantages LED lighting provides over traditional incandescent lighting: stability, longer life-spans (of bulbs) and better energy use ratios. Photometric standards, in the general spirit of this published work, will set themselves on the LED spectrum, whether the means for doing so involves some variation with commonplace filters (unlikely) or more novel solutions such as was used here with the predictable quantum efficient detector (PQED).

Gooch & Housego has a long history in photometrics and stands at the vanguard of this changing technology. We offer an assortment of products related to further LED study and usage, and our innovation will continue to grow alongside this booming industry.