While professional cameras are still much better than smartphone cameras, as time goes on, more and more professionals will be able to use their smartphones for their work. InVisage Technologies hopes to speed up that process.
The 75-person startup says that it is experimenting with quantum dots, which will dramatically improve smartphone cameras when the technology arrives at the start of 2016.
Before the unveiling of the new technology on Wednesday, however, the company took a trip to CNet to show it off. InVisage showed how it could make the tiny particles in a lab setting, after which it showed off its QuantumFilm image-sensor chip. The chip starts by using a chemical reaction that fills a vial with a black liquid. The quantum dots are so tiny that 20,000 of them placed beside one another would only be as thick as one human hair.
The chips using this technology will be far better than today's image-sensor technology. They offer better dynamic range, which can handle shadows much better, avoid glare in the sun and discern objects in the shade. Not only that, but they also have a fast-acting shutter that is able to avoid the wobble effect that happens in today's videos when the camera is moving around quickly. Last but not least is the fact that the technology can be miniaturized more than current tech, meaning they can fit in smartphones without the need for a protruding camera found on many devices.
Of course, it will be difficult for the company to grow, with tech companies like Sony being major players in the camera industry. In fact, Sony owns around 42 percent of the $9.6 billion image-sensing business.
Initially, InVisage will sell its technology to smartphone companies for the same price as other smartphone camera makers. Over time, however, it says that the technology will become much cheaper. Not only that, but the company also plans on selling its tech for traditional and cinema cameras as well.
The use of quantum dot technology is certainly interesting, and it could completely change how cameras are made. Apart from the advantages listed above, quantum dots are also laid down in a continuous film, meaning that the number of pixels in a sensor isn't limited by the hardware. Users could set how many pixels they want an image to have for fine detail and change to a smaller number for low-light images.
Only time will tell if the technology takes off, however, it's certainly an interesting idea and one to keep an eye on.