Headwall and Dr. Gregory Bearman Bring Hyperspectral Imaging to Cultural Heritage

Chemical Imaging Helps Unlock Secrets Behind Historical Artwork, Artifacts, and Documents

Fitchburg, MA - May 27, 2014 – Headwall has signed a consulting agreement with cultural heritage imaging professional Dr. Gregory Bearman to introduce hyperspectral imaging to historical preservation experts worldwide. Hyperspectral imaging technology will prove extremely useful since it is non-invasive and can provide information unobtainable by any other means.

“Our hyperspectral imaging systems cover the range from 380nm all the way up to 2500nm and beyond,” said Headwall CEO David Bannon. Imaging in the visible/near-infrared (VNIR, 380-1000nm) and especially the shortwave infrared (SWIR, 950-2500nm) spectral range (chemical imaging), preservation and conservation experts will be able to collect a vast array of chemical information with respect to pigments, substrates, materials, and unseen features.” Imaging, as compared to widely available point methods, provides the ability to examine larger areas and heterogeneous objects,” said Dr. Bearman.  

“Information about ancient documents, artifacts, and paintings not only broadens our overall historical knowledge, but also helps preservation experts carry out their valuable work,” said Bannon.  Quantitative imaging in the VNIR and SWIR can provide a way to measure and monitor changes in cultural heritage objects over time, a constant struggle for conservators. Such approaches are applicable not just to objects such as art and texts but also to historical buildings and sites, archeological excavations and built heritage in general.

Dr Bearman Imaging Frescoe ItalyDr. Bearman’s experience applying hyperspectral imaging within the field of cultural and historical preservation is unequalled.  He was a pioneer in applying modern imaging to cultural heritage, as the first to build a compact, simple to use imaging system to bring difficult fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls to light.  As a consultant to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) for more than 20 years, he designed the imaging protocol for the massive imaging and conservation monitoring project now underway, wherein the IAA has created a web-based library comprising its entire corpus of Dead Sea Scrolls.

More recently, he has focused on developing quantitative methods and tools to use a variety of imaging modes to measure and monitor changes in cultural heritage over time. “The key to advancing the science of spectral imaging in this community is to extract precise spectral and chemical information, non-invasively and to the exacting safety standards to which conservators adhere” said Dr. Bearman. “Headwall’s VNIR and SWIR sensors return spectral and chemical data at extremely high levels of fidelity, which is what preservation experts need,” he concluded. 

The consulting work done between Headwall and Dr. Bearman will be on a global scale, including museums, libraries, built heritage and university collections.


About Headwall Photonics

Headwall Photonics is the leading designer and manufacturer of imaging sensors and spectral instrumentation for industrial, commercial, and government markets. Headwall’s high performance spectrometers, spectral engines, and high performance diffractive optics have been selected by OEM and end-user customers around the world for use in critical application environments.  As a pioneer in the development of hyperspectral sensors and imaging spectrometers, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of patented spectral instrumentation that is customized for application-specific performance.

About Gregory Bearman, PhD

Dr. Bearman retired as a principal scientist at NASA/Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He is currently focusing his attention on bringing imaging and spectroscopy to conservators of cultural heritage around the world. Other notable accomplishments in spectroscopy have been in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and microscopy.  He has published many works on spectroscopy and holds numerous patents and awards, including two R&D 100 Awards for best invention of the year.  More information about him and copies of his publications can be found at

For information contact:

Mr. Chris Van Veen

Headwall Photonics, Inc.     



New VNIR-SWIR Airborne Sensor Covers Broad 400-2500nm Spectral Range

Co-boresighted, co-registered sensor with reduced size and weight is ideal for remote sensing applications

Fitchburg, MA - May 5, 2014 - In leading the industry with spectral imaging innovation and responding to strong demand, Headwall has released the Hyperspec® VNIR-SWIR sensor for general availability. The high-performance airborne sensor is versatile and covers the broad 400-2500nm spectral range. Precise, high-resolution imaging is achieved through co-registered pixels utilizing a single fore-optic input for outstanding spectral fidelity across the entire spectral range.


VNIR-SWIRDesigned for remote sensing applications such as environmental monitoring and mineral exploration, the sensor is optimized for size, weight, and reduced power consumption. With a weight less than 30 pounds and a small form factor package (approximately 15" x 15" x 8"), the sensor is designed for use aboard a wide range of airborne platforms. Adding to high image quality is the sensor's very wide field of view and high signal-to-noise (SNR) performance. Headwall has accomplished this by combining the high diffraction ef­ficiency for the VNIR and SWIR spectral regions coupled with very high quantum efficiency of the electronic subsystems.


Pixel co-registration plus aberration-cor­rected optics yields very high spectral and spatial resolution with repeatable measurement accuracy - unparalleled in the industry. With diffractive optics spe­cifically designed and manufactured by Headwall, the patented hyperspectral sensor eliminates image aberrations such as keystone, smile, or stray light and thermal variation that is typically observed with transmissive-based sensors containing prisms and gratings.


"Our remote-sensing customers often need to cover both the VNIR and SWIR spectral ranges but until now, there has not been a hyperspectral sensor capable of reliably providing both VNIR & SWIR data," said Headwall CEO David Bannon. "We developed this co-boresighted and co-registered VNIR-SWIR sensor to avoid the complexities of multi-sensor deployments while keeping the sensor size, weight, and power consumption very low."


Headwall's Hyperspec VNIR-SWIR sensor is also sold with a complete airborne configuration including GPS/INS, high-speed processor and storage, and airborne Hyperspec III software for sensor control and data acquisition.


Headwall's VNIR-SWIR sensor is available for delivery approximately 8 weeks after receipt of order. Headwall's application engineering team is available to assist customers with airborne integration and training.


Headwall will be exhibiting at the SPIE-DSS show at the Baltimore Convention Center, May 6-8. Visit us in Booth 620! 

About Headwall Photonics

Headwall Photonics is the leading designer and manufacturer of imaging

sensors and spectral instrumentation for industrial, commercial, and government markets. Headwall's high performance spectrometers, spectral engines, and high performance diffractive optics have been selected by OEM and end-user customers around the world for use in critical application environments. As a pioneer in the development of hyperspectral sensors and imaging spectrometers, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of patented spectral instrumentation that is customized for application-specific performance.


For information contact:

Mr. Chris Van Veen

Headwall Photonics, Inc.     


Unlocking Secrets Behind Artwork, Artifacts with Hyperspectral Imaging

Museum of Fine Arts Boston Takes a New View on its Priceless Antiquities

Fitchburg, MA, November 7, 2013 — The conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA) and the application engineering team at Headwall Photonics collaborated on a hyperspectral project to analyze some of the world’s most treasured paintings, artifacts, and documents. Utilizing Headwall’s large-format Hyperspec® Scanning System which is specifically designed for museums and libraries, artwork and antiquities were scanned with Hyperspec® sensors for both the VNIR (Visible - Near-Infrared) and SWIR (Short Wave Infrared) spectral ranges. The benefit of using dual sensors is that a particular artifact or document can be thoroughly scanned across the VNIR and SWIR range, yielding a wealth of valuable and never-before-seen spectral information relative to pigments, inks, materials, and features. Classifying this spectral data gives collection-care experts around the world new insight into the valuable assets they manage.

Headwall MFAMatthew Siegal, Chair of Conservation and Collections Management at the Boston’s MFA, indicated that “hyperspectral collaboration with Headwall yielded a wealth of information; additionally, the research team jointly worked to establish the necessary work procedures and protocols to protect the historical artifacts throughout the scanning process.”

 “For the purpose of cultural preservation, hyperspectral imaging is an invaluable tool that offers conservators the ability to analyze and assess the current state of the historical objects over time,” said Headwall Engineering Director, Peter Clemens. “Additionally, there is a wealth of new research information on these historical objects that becomes uncovered through the use of these spectral imaging techniques.” With both vertical and horizontal scanning system orientations possible, and the use of non-destructive illumination, conservators utilize hyperspectral imaging to provide additional analysis of artifacts and antiquities that may hold answers to long-held secrets and cultural insights.

During the project collaboration with Boston’s MFA conservators, the Headwall engineers scanned a wide range of objects including famous paintings, a Mayan vase, wood block prints, a chessboard, and a marble relief sculpture. Hyperspectral sensing is applicable not just for flat art such as paintings and documents, but for pottery and other artifacts as well. Scanning of an important Mayan vase yielded the presence of cracks never before seen allowing for better preservation steps for the valuable piece.

About The Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The original MFA opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876, the nation's centennial. Built in Copley Square, the MFA was then home to 5,600 works of art. Over the next several years, the collection and number of visitors grew exponentially, and in 1909 the Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue.

Today the MFA is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collection encompasses nearly 450,000 works of art. The MFA welcomes more than one million visitors each year to experience art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, special exhibitions, and innovative educational programs.

For information contact:

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
General Information: 617-267-9300


Headwall, QualySense Collaborate on In-Line Hyperspectral Inspection

Hyperspectral Sensors Provide Data-Rich Feedback for Precision Grain Sorting

Hyperspec VNIRFitchburg, Massachusetts USA, November 2, 2012Headwall is pleased to announce the production of a new precision hyperspectral collaboration to be used in grain, seed and bean sorting by QualySense (Dübendorf Switzerland). The Hyperspec Extended VNIR sensors, which operate in the spectral range of 550-1650nm, will provide a higher level of precision during the analysis of seeds and grains.

The unique ability of Headwall’s sensors to assess and inspect quality levels of seeds and grains based on spectral characteristics positions QualySense as an innovative leader in this important industry of crop science. Through collaboration with Headwall, the QualySense QSorter systems will be able to classify and sort grains based on nutrients and contamination levels. Waste will be minimized because hyperspectral sensing has the ability to eliminate only those seeds and grains that specific algorithms deem to be of poor quality. Foods made from those commodities will be more effectively processed, utilized, and priced based on quality parameters assessed during the high-throughput, hyperspectral inspection process.

QSorterDavid Bannon, Headwall CEO, noted how hyperspectral sensing is playing an innovative role in food quality and safety: "QualySense is a perfect example of how our technology can be used to deliver cost-effective innovation to processors of seeds and grains. With the QSorter instruments, quality can be determined more precisely than ever and in real time."

Dr. Francesco Dell'Endice, QualySense CEO, explained the key role that innovative technology can play. "Food producers need a highly resolved way of determining protein and oil content, color, size and other meaningful characteristics while increasing product consistency. Hyperspectral sensing represents a tremendous technical leap forward because it gives our customers a new view on quality. Headwall’s Hyperspec sensor provides exceptional spectral and spatial imaging and does so with the processing power required for high-throughput food inspection."



About Headwall

Headwall, based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (USA), is a leading designer and manufacturer of hyperspectral instruments for industrial, commercial, remote sensing, precision agriculture, and government markets. Other application areas include medical and biotechnology, forensics, chemicals, and color measurement, and in-line process inspection. Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of spectral instrumentation that is customized for application-specific performance, for end users and OEMs.

For information contact:

Mr. Chris Van Veen, Headwall Photonics, Inc.     

Tel: +1 978-353-4051                



About QualySense

QualySense is the worldwide leader focused on delivering innovative, high-end sorting solutions to achieve optimal processing, quality, and safety of grains, seeds, and beans. It is the leader in the development of efficient, high-capacity technologies for analyzing and sorting grains, seeds, and beans according to biochemical and morphological traits. QualySense was founded in 2010 and has been awarded a number of prizes and grants. The company is rapidly growing and has lately received the Swissparks “Best Startup of 2012” award.

For information contact:

Dr. Francesco Dell'Endice QualySense AG

c/o EMPA, Uberlandstrasse 129

CH - 8600, Dübendorf


Phone: +41 44 824 35 80





Headwall's Hyperspectral Sensors Set to Lift Off with NT Space

Headwall Delivered Hyperspec® VNIR & SWIR Sensors to Cover Broad Spectral Wavelength Range of 380 to 2500 nm

Fitchburg, MA, July 17, 2012 - Headwall Photonics, a leading supplier of high performance spectral imaging solutions, has completed the design, manufacture, and test of the space-qualified hyperspectral sensor payload for NT Space, a leading technology supplier and integrator of satellites and spacecraft and a subsidiary of NEC and Toshiba. The Headwall sensor systems have been delivered to NT Space for integration onto one of the world's foremost remote sensing satellite missions.


Hyperspectral image from satelliteWith this hyperspectral space platform, Headwall has introduced a new class of hyperspectral imaging sensors specifically designed for small satellite payloads that offer the industry's highest optical efficiency and widest field of view. The Hyperspec® Space sensors offer government programs and commercial satellite providers the ability to cost-effectively deliver new data services and imagery with a very small, affordable sensor payload that covers the VNIR (380-1000nm) and SWIR (950-2500nm) spectral regions.


With many years as an instrument supplier to NASA, Headwall was selected by NT Space to manufacture spectral imaging instrumentation in support of the scientific and remote sensing applications of the Japanese satellite mission. Japan's satellite will offer the world's first commercial hyperspectral data service products. Hyperspectral imagery is a critical technology in that it offers the remote sensing community the ability to detect not only the presence of objects but also identify, characterize, and quantify objects within the field of view of the satellite.


Headwall has very unique engineering capabilities which are well-suited for critical satellite and airborne applications. Headwall was selected because of its proven hyperspectral technology designs that offer a very tall image slit without introducing image distortions. This allows researchers to utilize a very wide field of view on the ground with exceptional spectral and spatial resolution--critical performance attributes for any satellite deployment.


"Headwall is very proud of its strong partnership with NT Space and the high level of technical collaboration generated throughout this project," said David Bannon, Headwall's Chief Executive Officer. "NT Space is a leading provider of space technologies and integrated solution platforms and we look forward to continued efforts on future projects."


Providing industry-leading spectral and spatial resolution, Headwall's patented Hyperspec® platform offers imaging sensors optimized for the following spectral regions:

  • Visible                               380 to 780 nanometers
  • Visible - Near Infrared         380 to 1000 nanometers
  • Extended VNIR                   600 to 1700 nanometers
  • Near Infrared                     900 to 1700 nanometers
  • Short Wave Infrared           950 to 2500 nanometers

About NEC's Space Systems

NEC is a pioneer of Japan's space exploration program. It has been engaged in development of more than 60 satellites since Japan's first satellite "Ohsumi" launched in 1970. NEC's recent achievement includes development and production of a control system and robotic arm deployed in the Japanese Experimental Module "KIBO" of the International Space Station as well as system integration of HAYABUSA.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of a diversified global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 140,000 people worldwide. For additional information, please visit the NEC Web site at:

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