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Qualcomm, Nokia pump $20M into array camera start-up

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:array sensor? CMOS? gesture recognition?

Array camera start-up Pelican Imaging Corp. has closed a $20 million Series C round of funding bringing the total invested in the company to more than $37 million since its formation in 2008. New investors include Qualcomm Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners who have joined existing investors Globespan Capital Partners, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and In-Q-tel.

Pelican Imaging has developed an array sensor architecture together with algorithms and software for image reconstruction, gesture recognition and other functions. Instead of using a single, high-resolution but expensive CMOS image sensor, the array camera averages multiple images to produce a single, enhanced-resolution image.

According to CTO Kartik Venkataraman, the principal advantages are reduced z height, superior performance under low light conditions, and the ability to offer 3D functions and gesture recognition. Venkataraman cofounded Pelican Imaging in 2008 with then CEO Aman Jabbi.

The computational imaging approach provides improved depth of focus at every pixel enabling users to perform a range of selective focus and edits, both pre- and post-capture. Camera's made using the approach can be about 50 per cent thinner than existing mobile cameras, which are limited by the depth of conventional image sensors. The company started out experimenting with a 5 by 5 array but has subsequently re-optimised around a 4 by 4 array of image sensors.

"The support from industry leaders like Qualcomm Ventures and NGP really underscores the validity of our technology in the marketplace," said Christopher Pickett, CEO of Pelican Imaging, in a statement.

Bo Ilsoe, managing partner at Nokia Growth Partners, has joined the Pelican board of directors. Pelican Imaging was first included in the EE Times Silicon 60 in version 11.0 in April 2011.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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