No more “digital Visine”, software to eliminate red eyes from photos!
NEW YORK (Reuters) — Eastman Kodak said Thursday it has developed digital camera technology that nearly eliminates the need for flash photography, part of the company’s effort to make money from its deep patent portfolio.
The world’s biggest maker of photographic film says its proprietary sensor technology significantly increases sensitivity to light. Image sensors act as a digital camera’s eyes by converting light into an electric charge to begin the capture process.
Kodak, which is in the last year of a lengthy and expensive transformation into a digital photography company as its film business shrinks, intends to lean on its wealth of intellectual property to boost its bottom line, expecting up to $250 million this year alone in royalties and related revenues.
Kodak said the new technology advances an existing Kodak standard in digital imaging. Today, the design of almost all color image sensors is based on the “Bayer Pattern,” an arrangement of red, green and blue pixels first developed by Kodak scientist Bryce Bayer in 1976.
In this design, half of the pixels on the sensor are used to collect green light, with the remaining pixels split evenly between sensitivity to red and blue light.
After exposure, software reconstructs a full-color signal for each pixel in the final image. Kodak’s new proprietary technology adds “clear” pixels to the red, green and blue elements that form the image sensor array, collecting a higher proportion of the light striking the sensor.
Manufacturing customers interested in the design will likely get a chance to sample it in early 2008, but Kodak’s McNiffe was unsure when devices using the technology would be in stores. The technology could be used at first in consumer gadgets such as cell phones and eventually in products made for industrial and scientific imaging.