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Video Spectrometer

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Spectral analysis of coffee at Toscanini's

This spectrometer is made with a black card inserts inside a 1" PVC or aluminum conduit box, and uses an HD USB webcam. This allows the user to view the spectrum in real-time, rather than taking a photo and analyzing it later. See a full bill of materials here:

This hardware design is released under the CERN Open Hardware License 1.1.


(these are approximated but we should soon post a page with calibration information)

  • around 400-900nm, maybe wider
  • 5-10nm spectral resolution
  • 20-30 samples per second
  • around $20 in materials, drops to around $10 if you use a really cheap webcam
  • approx. 1 hour construction time
  • web-based, open-source capture/analysis software at:

Spectral Workbench new interface


Our early goals are to:

How to build your own

Instructions on building your spectrometer can be found here:

Video Spectrometer Construction »