A new cameraphone image sensing technology from Californian-based company InVisage increases sensor performance by over four times, promising DSLR-quality pics from your mobile phone camera.
InVisage Technologies' image sensor uses quantum dots instead of silicon. If widely adopted then we could well be taking professional quality pics from our fifth-gen iPhones in a few years' time!
I wish my iPhone was better
"We have all heard 'Gee, I wish the camera on my iPhone was better,'" says InVisage's President and CEO Jess Lee. "But the heart of the problem is in the heart of the camera, which is the sensor."
Lee adds that the silicon in current image sensors in mobile phone cameras has a light absorbing efficiency of only around 50 per cent, with efficiency further reduced by layers of copper or aluminum circuitry on top of the silicon.
InVisage use quantum dots instead of silicon – which are nanocrystals made of a special class of semiconductors that let phone camera manufacturers achieve 90 per cent light-absoring efficiency.
"This is entirely different from the type of image sensors that we have right now," notes Tom Hausken, director with market research firm Strategies Unlimited. "Usually you see incremental improvements in sensor design, but these guys have made a a significant change in the process."
InVisage says it will have samples ready for phone manufacturers by the end of 2010.
"Mostly people have looked to use it in displays, solar cells and as identification markers," he says. "So we will have to see how effective and reliable it is as a sensor."