Company: InVisage Technologies
Source: The Economist
CAMERA-PHONES, a gimmick and a luxury a few years ago, have become ubiquitous. The International Telecommunications Union estimates that 4.6 billion mobile phones are in use at the moment. Of those, more than a billion are equipped with cameras, according to Tom Hausken, an analyst at Strategies Unlimited, a market research firm based in Mountain View, California. Dr Hausken estimates that some 800m camera-phones will be sold this year.
Yet most of the photos taken with these phones will be grainy and of low resolution—fine for capturing the essence of a moment to send to friends and family, but not good enough to frame for the wall. The reason is that both camera and lens have to be small, to fit with all the other gubbins on a phone. A typical camera-phone is equipped with a one- or two-megapixel silicon-based camera chip that is about 8mm across. Phone cameras with up to five megapixels are becoming available, but InVisage, a small firm based in Menlo Park, California, hopes to leap from that to a photographically respectable 12 megapixels, without an increase in size or cost, by adding tiny crystals called quantum dots to the process.