Seeing your true colours: Standards for hyperspectral imaging

Today, doctors who really want to see if a wound is healing have to do a biopsy or some other invasive technique that, besides injuring an already injured patient, can really only offer information about a small area. But a technology called hyperspectral imaging offers doctors a non-invasive, painless way to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue and reveal how well damaged tissue is healing over a wide area. The catch? A lack of calibration standards is impeding its use.

After a successful non-human trial, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have started gathering data on how human skin looks under various wavelengths of light in order to develop these badly needed standards.

Unlike consumer digital cameras and the human eye, which only see red, green and blue light, a relatively narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, each pixel of a hyperspectral image captures information for hundreds of narrow spectral bands