At Slush yesterday Nokia’s investment arm Nokia Growth Partners dropped some clues regarding the future of their camera phone innovation, and based on the companies Nokia invested in along the way, it all comes across as being pretty exciting.
Can we make a smartphone camera with better resolution than the human eye?
InVisage, an NGP portfolio company based in California, has developed a new image sensing technology based on custom designed nanomaterial that has the potential to deliver image sensors with hundreds of millions of pixels resolution. Depending on how you calculate this is approaching the resolution of a human eye.
Can we make a smartphone that sees at night?
Pelican Imaging achieves this by combining normal image sensing with infrared sensing enable “night vision” cameras in the form of a smartphone.
Can we make a smartphone that peeks around objects and people?
Pelican Imaging technology, together with optical systems from Singapore based Heptagon, provide stereoscopic information to the image capture as a first step to “seeing around objects”. The technology also allows post capture refocusing of people or objects in the image. Or combined with the right software people can effectively be “erased” and the background re-created, “seeing” through people!
Can we automatically create information about content in an image?
Images are becoming “smarter”. More and more information will be stored with images, not only time & date and 3D information but also location and other data that can be appended to the image such as weather, people in the photo and much more. Luminate is working on making all images in the world interactive by categorizing and cataloguing the information in the image. Of course, the information contained in these new image and video types is so rich that new file formats and standards will have to be designed, effectively making mpeg and jpeg formats obsolete. This would allow information to flow freely across platforms and on social networks.
Can we make a smartphone flash that just works?
We all know how difficult it is to shoot flash pictures; too light, too dark or red eyes. Heptagon is working on a multi color directional flash that can balance color of light and direction of light depending of the scene that is shot.
Its likely the IP related to these technologies will stay with Nokia after their handset division sale, but hopefully Microsoft will continue to maintain close ties with the company afterwards and bring some of these new technologies to Microsoft’s latest greatest handsets.