Apple has acquired a camera sensor startup called InVisage Technologies, TechCrunch reports. InVisage touts its QuantumFilm Image Sensor as specializing in capturing light while using a thinner camera module.
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Here’s a brief description of the technology InVisage created and Apple now owns:
QuantumFilm is a photosensitive layer that relies on InVisage’s newly invented class of materials to absorb light; specifically, the new material is made up of quantum dots, nanoparticles that can be dispersed to form a grid once they are synthesized. Just like paint, this dispersion of solid materials can be coated onto a substrate and allowed to dry.
In a QuantumFilm pixel, light passes through the color filter array, and is then detected by the quantum dots in the QuantumFilm layer. The metal wiring represents the sensor’s electrical circuitry. The higher positioning of the photosensitive layer allows the QuantumFilm pixel to detect more photons, store more electrons (and therefore more photographic information), and reproduce colors more accurately—all with a thinner camera module.
As Apple continues to focus on improving camera quality in iPhones each year, it’s easy to see how Apple could incorporate this technology into their hardware.
Apple currently relies on suppliers for its cameras but uses its in-house image signal processor to drive the sensors. Based on InVisage’s description of its technology, you can imagine Apple developing its own camera modules that excel at capturing light in thinner cases.
Perhaps we’ll return to iPhones without camera bumps sooner than later thanks to this acquisition.