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DCS 2018: Hyperspectral imaging offers early diagnosis of plant diseases

19 Apr 2018

HSI developer HinaLea reports success in maximising agricultural yields with handheld camera.

by Matthew Peach in Orlando

Hyperspectral imaging systems offer the agricultural sector the ability not only to monitor plant health, but also to detect potential plant pathogens. The impact of chemical contaminants and fungal, viral, and bacterial pathogens ranges from moderate to severe but can result in complete crop losses for major commodities such as corn, wheat, and soybeans world-wide.

In an industry presentation session during SPIE’s Defense + Commercial Sensing, this week, Alexandre Fong, Director of Hyperspectral Imaging, at the company HinaLea Imaging, explained how his company’s systems use spectral imaging to achieve precision agricultural management.

Only one month ago, as reported by optics.org, TruTag Technologies, a developer of product authentication and brand security solutions, announced the launch of its HinaLea Imaging business unit.

Fong told the audience, "Our new, dynamically adjustable hyperspectral imaging technique allows early identification and prevention of spread of a range of diseases to enable early treatment and cut crop losses."

'Higher resolution'

“Hyperspectral imaging offers a higher spectral resolution than multispectral imaging, which captures both spectral and spatial information of the imaged object. In hyperspectral, each individual pixel captures a high-res spectrum."

“It works by imaging narrow spectral bands over a continuous spectral range, and produces the spectra of all pixels in the scene. Hyperspectral sensors collect information as a set of images, which are then processed to form a hyperspectral data cube for processing and analysis.”

HinaLea’s HSI system was originally developed to image and read the company’s proprietary microscopic edible optical barcodes. It is powered by a patented tunable Fabry-Perot technology. Fong told the conference, “These tunable filters can achieve nanometer-range alignment in a rapid and cost-effective system in a handheld, battery-operated camera arrangement.”

HSI camera shown at D+CS

He went on to describe how HinaLea’s hyperspectral approach has been effective in assessing real-world plant diseases such as: Soybean Frogeye Leaf Spot, a fungal infection affecting southern states of the USA, which has caused crop losses as high 30% annually; and Maize Streak Virus, an insect-borne disease that causes crop losses as high as 100% in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. “HSI can also identify and distinguish herbicide drift exposure, which can otherwise be mistaken for disease,” he added.

HinaLea presented its fully autonomous high-resolution Model 4100H hyperspectral camera at this expo. The model has a built-in illumination source that captures high-resolution snap-shot images, yielding a spectrum at each pixel for the visible-to-NIR (400 – 1000 nm) wavelength range in up to 550 bands.

The company will also be showing the technology at the forthcoming SPIE Photonics Europe (April 22-26) in Strasbourg, France.

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