Sony is set to use new low light patented technology in an effort to reduce flash use in Smartphones.The Japanese Company who has wrapped the new technology in a variety of patents believes that the new technology will deliver improved low-light photography from its new Smartphones which will be launched at the World Mobile Congress next month.
The white-light pixel technology adds the white-light detectors to the red, green and blue (RGB)-sensing pixels already included in its existing devices.
The BBC said that Kodak patented a similar technology in 2007 but never put it to use. It is unclear whether Sony licensed the idea or has simply patented their own version of the technology.
Sony plans to sell the sensors to other manufacturers in a move that could reap them significant patent fees.
The new technology will improve battery life as users will not have to switch on a flash to get a low light photograph.
“This is good news for device makers, they can improve their cameras and give consumers a more functional camera that will work in better lighting situations,” said Brian Blau, research director at the technology consultants Gartner.
“That really means consumers have to think less about how to process their pictures and just have fun taking them.”
Although white-light sensing pixels cannot distinguish colour, they have a higher sensitivity to light across the entire visible spectrum thanks in part to the fact they do not have a colour filter covering them.
Software is then used to combine this information with the detail recorded by the RGB pixels to provide a better shot the BBC explained.
“The reason why they are doing it is to capture more information about the shadow areas and to help it increase the dynamic range of the image, which in theory should help mobile phone sensors and very small compact camera sensors pick up more detail,” said Richard Sibley, senior technical writer at Amateur Photographer magazine.
Sony’s press release said introducing white-light sensing pixels would normally have the side-effect of “degrading” the picture.
But it adds: “Sony’s own device technology and signal processing realises superior sensitivity without hurting image quality.”
Sony aims to ship samples of the new sensor in March and says consumers may be able to buy devices using the technology later this year or early 2013.
Neither Sony nor Kodak responded to requests for more detail about the patents involved.