A high-speed camera for monitoring vegetation from space and combating
famine in Africa is being adapted to spot changes in human skin cells and to
help diagnose skin diseases like cancer.
In fact, the extraordinary digital infrared sensor from The European Space
Agency's (ESA) Proba-V vegetation-scanning satellite is being adapted for
several non-space applications.
The space sensor can help doctors to look deeper into human tissues for
detecting skin diseases earlier. It also has a bright future in industry. It
has already been shown to improve solar cell production as well as spotting
defective items on production lines.
Developed by the Belgian company Xenics, the camera sees light we cannot by
looking in the shortwave infrared range.
"To humans, two green trees could look similar. But
with this camera, we might detect that one is growing well and the other is
unhealthy," said ESA's Michael Francois