Apple has reportedly bought Israeli startup LinX Imaging. The company develops multi-aperture cameras designed for mobile devices.
The camera on the iPhone is good, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Apple has been conservative in adopting high-res CCDs and still basis the camera system on an 8MP sensor. Now maybe Apple will come out on top of mobile cameras with the acquisition of an Israeli startup.
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LinX imaging develops a miniature multi-aperture camera that delivers DSLR like image quality. LinX engineers have achieved this breakthrough with combining multiple images captured from different points in space such as registration errors and occlusion related artifacts which are seen on competing technologies. The LinX cameras are artifact-free, even when objects appear at very short range.
During the registration process between the images, the LinX software extracts very accurate depth information for each pixel and creates a depth map. The software creates true depth information on high contrast objects and on near flat surfaces, such as walls, which are traditionally considered difficult for passive stereo systems. The accuracy and resolution of details in distance maps created the opportunity to use the suggested algorithms for 3D reconstruction.
According to the Wall Street Journal Apple paid $20 million for LinX. The addition of LinX is increasing the footprint Apple has in Israel. The tiny country is already hosting largest R&D unit of Apple outside of the United States.
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It is expected that the new LinX camera technology is not making it into the iPhone 6S expected this fall, but for the iPhone 7 in 2016 it is a possibility.