London: Scientists have developed a simple method to calibrate smartphone cameras, an tool that will help amateurs and science students to collect useful research data without specialised equipment.
Although smartphones and other consumer cameras are increasingly used for scientific applications, it is difficult to compare and combine data from different devices.
“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 from Leiden University in the
Netherlands. “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,” said Burggraaff, who developed the calibration method.
Researchers described the method called SPECTACLE (Standardised Photographic Equipment Calibration Technique And CataLoguE), which can be used for smartphones, digital single-lens reflex cameras and cameras aboard drones. The database allows users to upload calibration data from their cameras for others to use.
“SPECTACLE includes many do-it-yourself (DIY) methods, which we found provided results comparable to professional methods that require high-end laboratory equipment,” said Burggraaff.
The standardised calibration method was developed in response to a need that arose as researchers were developing citizen science methods to measure optical water quality using a smartphone.