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Modern spectrometer equipment tends to be expensive, thus increasing the cost of emerging systems that take advantage of spectral properties as part of their operation. This paper introduces a novel technique that exploits the spectral response characteristics of a traditional sensor (i.e. CMOS or CCD) to utilize it as a low-cost spectrometer. Using the raw Bayer pattern data from a sensor, we estimate the brightness and wavelength of the measured light at a particular point. We use this information to support wide dynamic range, high noise tolerance, and, if sampling takes place on a slope, sub-pixel resolution. Experimental results are provided for both simulation and real data. Further, we investigate the potential of this low-cost technology for spoof detection in biometric systems. Lastly, an actual hardware systhesis is conducted to show the ease with which this algorithm can be implemented onto an FPGA.