Marine Imaging Home
SpectralSea Camera
Technology & Specifications
Applications

Harnessing light for enhancing underwater vision

Turbid waters often restrict underwater visibility to less than 1m, posing a natural obstacle for the inspection of manmade or natural subaqueous objects. QCELL brings the SpectralSea technology to address one of the most challenging and high-impact problems in marinetime operations: Clear imaging in turbid waters.

SpectralSea is a video rate spectral imager offering a physics-based primary enhancement of the underwater visibility, which is complemented with advanced, real-time algorithms recognizing and deconvolving the scattering component. The SpectralSea camera comes with an 200 m (or smaller) cable for both data and power transmission.

SpectralSea camera is an important innovation enabling biofouling inspection in turbid/murky waters and supporting ship-hull cleaning decisions thus delivering large savings to the shipping industry, while, at the same time, protecting the environment though the reduction of fuel consumption. It also comprises the today’s best technology, offering maximum visibility for inspecting fish farms and aquatic plants, as well as for marine archelogy and marine research.

SpectralSea Camera

The SpectralSea camera in action: Color imaging (left) and deconvoluted spectral imaging (right), remarkably improving underwater visibility in real-time.

SpectralSea is the world’s first passive spectral camera offering video rate simultaneous multichannel imaging, spanning both the visible and the near infrared spectral regions. The camera can be mounted on a stationary underwater stand, on an Autonomous (uncrewed) Underwater Vehicle (AUV) or on an Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). ROV operation is fully supported since the camera comes with a 200m (or shorter) Gigabit Ethernet connection for both power and signal transfer.

The SpectralSea camera acquires images in the visible and in the Near Infrared spectral regions and displays them side-by-side and in real-time. All the imaging channels are processed with fast algorithms, resulting in crisp imaging through turbid waters.

The SpectralSea camera (left) adapts to several underwater drone platforms (the Blurobotics platform is shown in images).

The QCELL offers the SpectralSea camera, the world’s first video rate spectral imager improving underwater visibility in real time .

The QCELL offers the SpectralSea camera, the world’s first video rate spectral imager improving underwater visibility in real time.

Technology & Specifications

Conventional technologies offering improved underwater visibility and color restoration require range scanning and multiple image capturing to feed physical or computational models. These processes are time consuming and deliver results off-line. As such, these technologies are rather useful for photography rather than for real-time inspection and quantitative mapping.

SpectralSea technology is physics based, exploiting the wavelength dependence of the absorption and scattering characteristics water/particles, both determining the imaging quality and the visibility range. Real time spectral imaging offer the distinct advantage of allowing live inspection in several narrow spectral bands simultaneously in the visible and the invisible portions of the spectrum.

Video rate spectral image acquisition offers spectroscopy-based visibility enhancement, a process that it is complemented with advanced, real-time algorithms recognizing and deconvolving the scattering component.

The QCELL’s SpectralSea camera exploits light-mater interaction physics and adapts its spectral sensitivity to wavelengths that correspond to optical windows thus maximizing underwater visibility. The SpectralSea camera integrates advanced algorithms calculating and removing the scattering components that degrade imaging quality.

Color image of a resolution target submerged in turbid water, captured with the corresponding mode of SpectralSea camera.

Deconvoluted spectral image captured with the corresponding mode of SpectralSea camera. All the details of the resolution target have now become clearly visible.

SpectralSea Camera Specifications

  • Imaging spectral range: 400-1100nm


  • Spectral Bands: 6 narrow bands spanning the full spectral range plus one color image, all acquired simultaneously and at video rates
  • Fluorescence Imaging: Yes with (optional) excitation light source
  • Spatial Resolution: 3040X2048, (6MP)
  • Data transfer line: GigE, or USB 3
  • Data transfer speed: 17-25f/s @ 200 m distance for the full seven image pack
  • Lens: 10 mm standard (other options available)
  • Dimensions: D=114,3mm, L=350mm
  • Weight:1.5 Kg (with the water proof case)
  • Max depth: 150m
  • Computer requirements: i5 or better
  • Lighting systems: not required in shallow waters. It accepts illumination modules that are powered through the camera’s cable
  • Software: Camera sensitivity controls, calibration, real time enhancers, image fusion and deconvolution tools and biofouling classification and mapping.
Applications

The SpectralSea camera

Improving underwater visibility for Biofouling Imaging and Grading

The SpectralSea camera transferring power and imaging data to a host computer connected with 200 m (or smaller) cable for both data and power transmission

Color images of ship hull biofouling captured with SpectralSea camera (left). Differences in the amounts of biofouling deposited are not evident.

Biofouling spectral mapping-based grading (right).

Differences in the amounts of biofouling deposited are now clearly seen. Blue-green regions represent early stage biofouling, yellow red represent later stages.

The SpectralSea improves remarkably the visibility in murky port waters offering assess to the status of biofouling accumulated in the hull of the ships. Biofouling of ship’s hull increases drug, reduces efficiency and increases fuel consumption and the associated environmental footprint. The SpectralSea performs objective assessment of biofouling even in murk port waters and supports cleaning decision making and guidance, thus delivering large savings to the industry and protecting the environment.

The SpectralSea camera integrates efficient algorithms capable of quantitatively mapping and grading of biofouling. One major advantage of SpectralSea camera is that biofouling grading mapping is displayed at video rate, a unique feature allowing for live inspections and for real time evaluation and guidance of cleaning processes.
Improving underwater visibility for Biofouling Imaging and Grading


As a member of an international consortium, QCELL awarded a prestigious EU grant, the EIC- Fast Track to Innovation 2018-2020 Spectral Imaging Powered Ship Hull Biofouling Detection and Cleaning”. Within the context of this program QCELL developed a Spectral Imaging Camera for detecting and guiding cleaning of biofouling in ship’s hull. For more info, please visit:

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/950854

https://www.sleekship.eu/partners/

SleekShip comprises a Semi-Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (SAUV) carrying the SpectralSea camera that captures light wavelength bands where light backscattering is less and the slime is easier to distinguish despite contamination. The inspection can take place in port waters while the ship is docked for other operations thus no additional charter-off time is incurred. An integrated cavitation-based cleaning tool allows for 100% paint-safe cleaning. The Project offers a sustainable way to mitigate biofouling by detecting it at an early stage (Level of Fouling – LoF 1), while it can still be cleaned with soft methods that do not damage hull paint or coating.

The consortium comprises SubseaTech, a dynamic manufacturer of underwater robots, QCELL, a high-tech SME specialising in hyperspectral imaging, M.Danchor a leading cleaning and inspection services company, TWI, the global leader in image-based underwater inspection technologies and Danaos, a NYSE-listed containership owner.

The Tortuga SAUV developed by our French partner Subsea Tech that will carry the SpectralSea camera and ship hull cleaning tools are the main deliverables of the EU-funded SleekShip project



Improving underwater visibility for monitoring fish farms

The QCELL’s SpectralSea camera comprises the technology of choice for the fish culturists for setting up underwater inspection systems for monitoring, with high visibility, fish activity, feeding status, welfare and waste.

The camera can be mounted on a stationary underwater stand and transfer real time inspection data to land stations.

The SpectralSea camera is a passive spectral imager operating with ambient light. When additional external illumination is required the camera can switch to the near infrared mode, utilizing near infrared lighting, without bothering the aquatic life.

The SpectralSea camera transferring power and imaging data to a host computer connected with 200 m (or shorter) cable for both data and power transmission.