The human eye sees only three bands of light -- red, green and blue -- but researchers at Tel Aviv University say their "hyperspectral" camera can sense a spectrum of colors that allows it to analyze 300 times more information than the human brain can process.
The sensor interprets reflected sunlight radiation that bounces off an object, material or environment where each reflected color represents a different chemical reaction between two compounds, researcher Eyal Ben-Dor said.
The sensor can provide immediate and accurate monitoring of forests, urban areas, agricultural lands, harbors, or marinas -- areas often endangered by contaminants, he said.
The sensor has an extensive range and can read information from as close as 0.4 inches and as far as 500 miles away, so it can be placed anywhere on the ground or in aircraft, satellites or weather balloons, the researchers said.
The technology could be used in disciplines such as medicine, pharmacology, the textile industry and civil engineering to provide in-depth analysis on environmental composition, they said.