Finnish giants Nokia have reportedly placed a substantial investment into Pelican Imaging, a startup company focusing on array camera technology. The Finnish company have reportedly been tracking Pelican Imaging’s progress since its founding in 2008 before making its decision.
At the centre of Nokia’s – and reportedly other device manufacturers – is Pelican’s 16-lens array camera technology it is currently developing. Instead of one lens and sensor, Pelican’s array camera uses sixteen lenses, each of which only captures one RGB colour, reducing noise resulting from cross-talk. More interesting is the fact that each sub-camera also captures 3D depth information which, when paired with Pelican’s software know-how, allowing for users to adjust the focus even after the image has been captured – similar to the Lytro camera, which uses light-field technology.
So when can we expect some imaging magic to make its way into our smartphones? Pelican Imaging’s CEO Chris Pickett mentioned that the product is scheduled to be part of “at least one new smartphone launching in 2014”, and that it is currently being trialed right now. The array camera’s main challenge at the moment seems to be on improving the hardware: its reference design uses an f/3.1 sensor that is “at least four generations old”. For more information on Pelican Imaging, do take a look at the promo video above, or head on to its official website here.