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Apple acquires Israeli start-up LinX

Posted: 16 Apr 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:array camera? DSLR? mobile phones? iPhone?

Apple has bought another start-up. This time, the U.S. iPhone giant has acquired LinX Computational Imaging Ltd, an Israel-based developer of an array camera for mobile equipment, for an estimated $20 million.

LinX (Caesarea, Israel) claimed last year that its camera was ready for inclusion in mobile phones as its engineers had solved problems with combining images from multiple apertures such as registration errors and occlusion-related artefacts (see Array camera ready for mobile market, says start-up).

The company has reportedly said of the matter: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." This form of words is what Apple has tended to issue when it has acquired a company. The LinX website has been simplified to a single page that states: "LinX cameras are significantly smaller than any camera on the market today, leading the way to DSLR performance in slim handsets."

LinX was founded in 2009, one year after Pelican Imaging (Santa Clara, Calif.), a company that pioneered the array camera, started. The LinX multi-aperture system is based on building-block image sensor modules that can be tessellated together for improved imaging performance and depth of focus and to extract depth information from a scene.

The camera modules are nearly half the height of a standard camera module and LinX has developed products from arrays of two, three and four cameras in various configurations and sizes, some with autofocus and others without.

LinX has claimed in the past that its cameras will provide superior low-light performance, SLR level dynamic range and colour accuracy as well as post-capture focusing.

Clearly, Apple's interest would be to insert the technology in future generations of iPhone where it can help take the camera function towards DSLR levels. The small sized camera module could also sit well in MacBooks where the depth sensing could be used for gesture control and user identification.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe





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