I need an optical sensor for picking up 15mm² area at a distance of 1 cm and return the RGB value or any similar estimate.

I am going to use a custom lens for this focus.

This is basically to read a strip on which a chemical reaction happened on a small surface area and get an estimate of color.

I am thinking of using TCS230 or TCS3200.

Please suggest any better sensor and anything about how I can get such a lens.

This whole thing is going to be packaged in a small cellphone sized device so I also have area constraints .

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you please provide links to the datasheets for the sensors you mention, so that we know what you're talking about, and that we may better help you? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ ams.com/eng/Products/Light-Sensors/Color-Sensor/TCS3200 \$\endgroup\$
    – Samyuktha
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I added it to your question; that's the way we like it best. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks.I will remember to add datasheet links next time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Samyuktha
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


Consider using a simple light level sensor and providing separate red, green, and blue illumination. Flash them separately and record the light levels to determine the color. This would reduce your dependency on the outside light source, and the "flash" could be a tiny fraction of a second long.

This would be like using a red light to illuminate a barcode to give better contrast than scanning without the red light.


You might want to check out Maxim's new RGB sensors MAX44006 & MAX44008 that I just wrote about. They use I2C, have extremely low power consumption and are very, very tiny.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The pricing list is for the entire range of MAX4400x. Scroll down to the MAX44006 or MAX44008 and you'll see the price there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SuperFlux: This chip looks really interesting for some reason (I think it's the whole combo of sensors within a 2X2 mm package), but what major applications could a multi-sensor chip like this particular one have -- is it just for scientific applications? \$\endgroup\$
    – boardbite
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I doubt they'd focus on scientific instruments. Their applications page lists everything from lighting management to printers. A printer for example could sense the shade of the paper you are using and correct the colors it uses for printing on it for more accurate results on tinted paper. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 7:02

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