GeigerCam: Measuring Radioactivity with Webcams

Thomas Auzinger, Ralf Habel, Andreas Musilek, Dieter Hainz, Michael Wimmer
GeigerCam: Measuring Radioactivity with Webcams
Poster shown at ACM SIGGRAPH 2012 (2012-08-05-2012-08-09) In ACM SIGGRAPH 2012 Posters, pages 40:1-40:1. August 2012.
[Poster]

Information

Abstract

Measuring radioactivity is almost exclusively a professional task in the realms of science, industry and defense, but recent events spur the interest in low-cost consumer detection devices. We show that by using image processing techniques, a current, only slightly modified, off-the-shelf HD webcam can be used to measure alpha, beta as well as gamma radiation. In contrast to dedicated measurement devices such as Geiger counters, our framework can classify the type of radiation and can differentiate between various kinds of radioactive materials.

By optically insulating the camera's imaging sensor, recordings at extreme exposure and gain values are possible, and the partly very faint signals detectable. The camera is set to the longest exposure time possible and to a very high gain to detect even faint signals. During measurements, GPU assisted real-time image processing of the direct video feed is used to treat the remaining noise by tracking the noise spectrum per pixel, incorporating not only spatial but also temporal variations due to temperature changes and spontaneous emissions. A confidence value per pixel based on event probabilities is calculated to identify potentially hit pixels. Finally, we use morphological clustering to group pixels into particle impact events and analyze their energies.

Our approach results in a simple device that can be operated on any computer and costs only $20-30, an order of magnitude cheaper than entry-level nuclear radiation detectors.

Additional Files and Images

Additional images and videos

Logo: Logo Logo: Logo
Our_setup: The modified webcam and several freely available radioactive sources. Our_setup: The modified webcam and several freely available radioactive sources.

Additional files

Handout: An illustrated how-to guide to convert an HD webcam into a radioactivity detector. Used as handout at the conference demonstration. Handout: An illustrated how-to guide to convert an HD webcam into a radioactivity detector. Used as handout at the conference demonstration.
Measurement_images: Images from the measurements of alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation. Measurement_images: Images from the measurements of alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation.
Poster: The conference poster. Poster: The conference poster.

Weblinks

No further information available.

BibTeX

@misc{Auzinger_2012_GeigerCam,
  title =      "GeigerCam: Measuring Radioactivity with Webcams",
  author =     "Thomas Auzinger and Ralf Habel and Andreas Musilek and
               Dieter Hainz and Michael Wimmer",
  year =       "2012",
  abstract =   "Measuring radioactivity is almost exclusively a professional
               task in the realms of science, industry and defense, but
               recent events spur the interest in low-cost consumer
               detection devices. We show that by using image processing
               techniques, a current, only slightly modified, off-the-shelf
               HD webcam can be used to measure alpha, beta as well as
               gamma radiation. In contrast to dedicated measurement
               devices such as Geiger counters, our framework can classify
               the type of radiation and can differentiate between various
               kinds of radioactive materials.  By optically insulating the
               camera's imaging sensor, recordings at extreme exposure and
               gain values are possible, and the partly very faint signals
               detectable. The camera is set to the longest exposure time
               possible and to a very high gain to detect even faint
               signals. During measurements, GPU assisted real-time image
               processing of the direct video feed is used to treat the
               remaining noise by tracking the noise spectrum per pixel,
               incorporating not only spatial but also temporal variations
               due to temperature changes and spontaneous emissions. A
               confidence value per pixel based on event probabilities is
               calculated to identify potentially hit pixels. Finally, we
               use morphological clustering to group pixels into particle
               impact events and analyze their energies.  Our approach
               results in a simple device that can be operated on any
               computer and costs only $20-30, an order of magnitude
               cheaper than entry-level nuclear radiation detectors.",
  month =      aug,
  address =    "New York, NY, USA",
  booktitle =  "ACM SIGGRAPH 2012 Posters",
  editor =     "Dan Wexler",
  event =      "ACM SIGGRAPH 2012",
  isbn =       "978-1-4503-1682-8",
  location =   "Los Angeles, CA",
  publisher =  "ACM",
  note =       "Poster presented at ACM SIGGRAPH 2012
               (2012-08-05--2012-08-09)",
  pages =      "40:1--40:1",
  keywords =   "radioactivity, webcam, measurement",
  URL =        "https://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/research/publications/2012/Auzinger_2012_GeigerCam/",
}