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Apple Buys Image Sensor Startup InVisage

Apple Buys Image Sensor Startup InVisageā€

Apple now uses back-illuminated sensors made by Sony, but it has slowly weaned itself off third-party suppliers-many of which are its rivals-and started to produce its own components.

Apple has acquired startup InVisage Technologies, the developer of image sensor technology that could improve the quality of iPhone camera images.

Apple's tirades to make the smartphone the most capable camera is neverending. It uses a what it calls a "photosensitive" layer made of quantum dots, or nanoparticles, that absorb light and get dispersed to form a grid.

QuantumFilm is the key product of InVisage Technologies.

Some of the InVisage employees had already started working with Apple long back but did not mention it anywhere on their LinkedIn profiles.

InVisage was founded in 2006 and had raised $98 million from investors including Intel Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, and GGV Capital.

Conventional sensors rely on a photosensitive layer made of silicon. "Just like paint, this dispersion of solid materials can be coated onto a substrate and allowed to dry". The technology used by InVisage absorbs the same amount of light as that of other sensors which use silicon coating but lowered thickness can allow cameras to work efficiently in low-light scenarios.

In a QuantumFilm pixel, light passes through the color filter array, and is then detected by the quantum dots in the QuantumFilm layer.

But in recent years, it has placed an emphasis on building its own core technologies, such as graphics processors and Bluetooth chips. Furthermore, InVisage's acquisition is expected to give Apple a chance to test new connected devices with image-taking features. It's not a stretch to think that Apple may be planning to build its own image sensor, too.

Neither Apple nor InVisage made a formal announcement of the acquisition, but TechCrunch reported it citing people inside both companies confirming the acquisition.

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