This New Method Turns Your Smartphone Into A Science Tool

The rise of modern technology has given the people of today the ability to take part and collect research data with their phones the same way researchers and scientists exclusively did before. As a direct result, smartphones and other types of consumer cameras are being increasingly used for scientific applications, since they can essentially serve as portable computers that can fit inside the pocket.

And now, scientists have decided to take it to another level. They developed a simple method that can calibrate smartphone cameras, removing the need for amateurs and science students to have specialized equipment. The method came as a need to properly compare and combine data taken by different devices started rising during the past few years.

Introducing the SPECTACLE

In a study published in the journal Optics Express, the team of scientists dubbed their new method SPECTACLE, which stands for Standardized Photographic Equipment Calibration Technique and CataLoguE. The team was composed of researchers from the Leiden University in the Netherlands. The method they made can be used for digital single-lens reflex, cameras connected to drones and smartphones.

“The low cost of consumer cameras makes them ideal for projects involving large-scale deployment, autonomous monitoring or citizen science,” said Olivier Burggraaff, who led the research team. “Our standardised calibration method will make it easier for anyone to use a consumer camera to do things like measure pollution by detecting aerosol particles in the air.”

Basically allowing users to upload their own calibration data so that others may use it, the SPECTACLE includes many do-it-yourself methods that provide results comparable to high-end laboratory experiments, without the need for expensive equipment.

According Burggraaf, besides the need to pool and calibrate data, the method was also created to address the need of researchers developing citizen science methods. This includes measuring optical water quality with a smartphone camera.

“SPECTACLE brings together many existing calibration methods and applies them for the first time to consumer cameras, which will make it much easier for other developers and for us to use these cameras for scientific purposes,” Burggraaf said.

The researchers now plan to integrate this new method with more cameras to quickly enrich their database, which can be utilized by anyone who wishes to access it.

Smartphone Exposure to artificial light from mobile phones could change the internal body clock. Pixabay