New Camera System Developed for Smartphones
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and today just about everyone has a camera with them, built into their phones and media players. The pictures those devices take may not be a full thousand words though, due to the components used and their inferiority to actual cameras. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a camera system to close the gap though, without adding too much weight.
Traditionally a camera requires a rather large lens in order to zoom in on a scene, but large lenses are too heavy for smartphones. The Tel Aviv researchers overcame this issue by using two, smaller lenses in the camera with two fields of vision. One lens is broad and close while the other is narrow and distant. The images from these two lenses are combined to create a picture with sharper definition than the digital zoom of modern smartphone cameras. This combining process does require some system resources to accomplish of course, but the researchers have already demonstrated that current high-end smartphones are capable of running it. The system can achieve three a times better zoom factor and has improved low-light performance, without being too large.
To help bring the camera system to consumer products, the researchers formed Corephotonics, which has already sold its blueprint to at least one device manufacturer. The current expectation is that the first phone to feature this technology will be available 2015 Q1.