Foxconn linked to startup’s 52-Mpixel camera technology
Light Co. was founded in 2013 as Tinz Optics Inc. but in 2014 benefited from a $9.7 million venture capital round that included Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm, and Sanjay Jha, CEO of Globalfoundries, among the investors.
The main claim that Light is making is thsat it will allow smartphones to take photos even closer to digital SLR quality. Even though it is still at a pre-prototype stage it has reportedly said it expects the first light cameras to appear in smartphones in 2016 with the 52-megapixel resolution.
Light’s approach is similar to that of array camera pioneers such as Pelican Imaging Corp. and LinX Computational Imaging Ltd. However, Light does not restrict itself to an array of identical sensors but uses multiple sensors with lens set at different fixed focal lengths so that it can simulate a zoom lens after a photo has been taken. It can still use computational effects after a photo has been taken – in reality a series of photos – to get enhanced resolution similar to other plentoptic approaches.
And to help that happen Light is expected to announce on April 21, that it has received backing from Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics. In addition Foxconn will be licensing Light’s technology for use in mobile devices.
Next: CEO Laroia
"The system will enable people to easily carry a small, single device that offers true optical zoom with no protruding elements – we are currently prototyping 35mm-150mm – capture low-noise images even in low-light situations, and control depth-of-field and focus as part of the editing process," Laroia told a publication called the Daily Dot.
One limitation is that Light’s approach still requires a reasonable z height to accommodate its array of cameras, about the same as is used by smartphones today according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review article. That would count against the technology for smartphone vendors who want to go even thinner.
And the technology is being pitched as a premium product with a cost to equipment makers of $60 to $80. That compares to $3 to $5 for a low-end camera for an entry-level phone and $20 to $25 for cameras in smartphones.
Related links and articles: