CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences image analyst Leanne Bischof helped develop the Gemmological Digital Analyser (GDA).
Ms Bischof said that opals have a unique range of colour characteristics that makes them by far the most difficult gemstone to appraise.
"Qualities such as 'flash', the way an opal reflects light and colour as it is rotated, can vary with human eyesight and lighting conditions," Ms Bischof said.
"A person's judgment of an opal's colours, the brightness of those colours and the area each of them covers is a really difficult task, even for a skilled opal assessor. You really need objective image analysis and automation to assist with that."Incorporating the expert knowledge of over 60 opal industry professionals, CSIRO designed a GDA prototype with Australian company Applied Robotics.
A small camera inside the GDA takes 871 images of the stone as it rotates on a stage which moves 360 degrees horizontally and tilts 90 degrees vertically.
High powered computers linked to the GDA analyse the images and quantify the opal's gemmological characteristics, providing a classification grade based on colour, clarity, carat, cut and character and a summary graph showing proportions of the opal's colours.
A database of information on the GDA graded opals will allow participating jewellers and industry organisations to accurately assign a dollar value to a particular grade of stone depending on the daily market price.
Director of Opal Producers Australia Limited and Lightning Ridge Opal miner Peter Sutton said the value of the Australian opal industry is estimated to be worth around $50 million a year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics."We suspect this figure is grossly underestimated because valuations for a single stone can sometimes vary by thousands of dollars," Mr Sutton said.
"We wanted to create an objective grading system that would improve the demand for and value of the Australian Opal industry, giving miners a fair price and consumer's confidence to trade with grade quality assurance," Mr Sutton said.
"This will be an independently-graded Australian opal product, which we will brand as Opallia."
Image available at: http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/mediarelease/mr09-156.html
More Images available from CSIRO Communications Officer Sarah Wood: +61 0423 350 515
Further Information:Leanne Bischof, CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences
Sarah Wood | EurekAlert!
Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy