Engineers at Image Insight (East Hartford, CT, USA) have developed a software app that uses the camera in an Android smart phone to measure radioactivity levels, allowing users to ensure their local environments are safe.
The GammaPix software app will initially be available as a free trial download on specific Android phones. An iPhone version will follow shortly, as will professional apps on both platforms for police, fire, medical and other first responders. These products are currently in beta-testing by groups in the US and Japan and by the US and UK military.
The patented GammaPix technology is based on software that analyzes images to measure gamma radiation exposure. The technology is sensitive enough to detect, within seconds, dangerously high levels of radiation. It can also be used to collect data over longer times, from minutes, to detect weaker radioactivity sources, to hours, measuring normal background radioactivity.
Under development since 2002, the patent-protected technology (US Patent Nos. 7,391,028 and 7,737,410) was invented and developed by Dr. Eric Rubenstein of Advanced Fuel Research (AFR; East Hartford, CT, USA; http://www.afrinc.com), a research and development company.
The Department of Homeland Security funded the development of the GammaPix technology for use with surveillance cameras, and in November 2010, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) signed a contract with AFR for $679,000 to develop the GammaPix technology for use with smart phones.
In December 2010, Image Insight was formed with Dr. Rubenstein as president, Dr. Peter Solomon (the founder of AFR) as treasurer and Dr. Michael Serio (president of AFR) as secretary to acquire and commercialize the technology from AFR which it did in February 2011.
-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design