Spectricity was founded in 2017 to create compact, low-cost sensors for smartphones. It’s been working quietly to develop that hardware ever since and revealed its first product, the S1 multispectral sensor, earlier this month. It may be a few years before the company’s new tech finds its way into phones, but when it does, you could see the benefit in more color-accurate photos.
The S1 multispectral sensor is technically a camera, but it’s not one that will shoot the photos you share on social media and send to friends. CEO Vincent Mouret describes it as akin to the depth and 3D sensors you find on some phones. It would have a place of honor on a smartphone’s camera bump, but you won’t have a “multispectral” button in your phone app. Instead, the S1 would capture more information about lighting, allowing your phone to take images with accurate colors and better white balance.
Spectricity has some examples of what’s possible with its technology (below). The S1 multispectral sensor captures 16 color channels, whereas the standard camera sensors in your phone today only capture three: red, green, and blue. The S1 covers that range but also reaches deeper into the infrared than typical cameras. While the resolution is just VGA (800 x 600), it doesn’t need a lot of pixels to do its job. It’s all about collecting more data about a scene based on the spectral signature of light. The company says this helps the “color-blind” main camera produce natural colors and unbiased skin tones.
Computational mobile photography has changed how we take photos on the go — it’s no longer about having the most pixels possible, but that’s not stopping Samsung. The best smartphone cameras, like those from Google and Apple, lean heavily on AI algorithms to render accurate, consistent colors and sharpen details. Google even developed a whole new system to produce more equitable skin tones, but maybe the S1 will make that easier and more universally available. Generally, the more data your camera system can collect, the better those algorithms match what your eye sees. Spectricity is not changing the photography game tomorrow, though.
Spectricity says the S1 can be manufactured at scale, but it doesn’t expect to have the hardware available for smartphone OEMs until 2024, with higher volumes shipping in 2025. Then, we’ll have to see which companies embrace the technology. Plenty of clever smartphone technologies have failed to catch on, so there’s no guarantee you’ll ever use a phone with a Spectricity color sensor. If you do, though, it’ll probably be in 2026 or later, which is when Mouret believes the S1 could realistically appear in high-end smartphones.
Source From Extremetech
Author: Ryan Whitwam