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InVisage Technologies
TypeSubsidiary
IndustrySemiconductors
FoundedOctober 2006; 15 years ago (2006-10)
FounderTed Sargent
HeadquartersMenlo Park, California
Key people
Jess Lee, CEO
ParentApple Inc.
Websiteinvisage.com

InVisage Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company known for producing a technology called QuantumFilm, an image sensor technology that improves the quality of digital photographs taken with a cell phone camera. The company is based in Menlo Park, CA.

History

InVisage Technologies was founded by the company's current CTO Ted Sargent, a professor from the University of Toronto.[1] While developing transmitters and receivers in his lab at U of T, he discovered an especially sensitive receiver, which formed the basis of InVisage's QuantumFilm technology.[2] Sargent then secured the rights to the technology and founded InVisage in October 2006.[3] The company applied this technology toward mobile phone cameras.[4] In 2007, Jess Lee, a former vice president from OmniVision Technologies, joined InVisage as the company's CEO.[5] Syrus Madavi serves as the company's chairman of the board of directors, having joined InVisage in 2012.[6]

In February 2013, it was announced that the company had received $20 million in a Series D funding round led by GGV Capital that included Nokia Growth Partners as a new investor, with the company expecting to begin shipping devices with their sensors in the second quarter of 2014.[7]

On November 9, 2017, it was reported that Apple, Inc. acquired InVisage Technologies.[8]

QuantumFilm Technology

QuantumFilm Technology involves the creation of a film to coat the image sensors used in a cellphone camera, allowing it to capture more light, improving the quality of the images taken.[9][10] A typical camera phone pixel sensor is made up of several layers, with a layer of colored plastic or glass acting as a color filter sitting on top of several layers of metal connecting silicon electronic transistors together, which is itself on top of a base layer of silicon used by the sensor's electronic transistors and photodetectors. The light coming to the sensor has to pass through the layers of metal before reaching the silicon, a weak light absorber, so the sensor detects only about 25 percent of the light that makes up the image.[11] QuantumFilm places a layer of semiconducting crystals - called quantum dots - on top of the chip, which allows the chip to absorb more light, place more pixels in a smaller space, and create sharper images.[12]

Using quantum dots is more efficient at capturing light than traditional silicon-based image sensor chips (capturing 90-95% of the light that hits it), giving the sensors higher sensitivity in low light as well as higher resolution.[3][13] And while traditional image sensors read an image from top to bottom (which can create a blurred image when the subject is moving), quantum dots detect the entire image at the same moment, reducing the chance for distortion.[14]

Invisage holds patents related to the development of QuantumFilm technology, as well as its applications toward optoelectronic devices.[15]

Awards

In 2010, InVisage's QuantumFilm technology was awarded The Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award.[16] In 2011, the company received a gold award from the International Imaging Industry Association's (I3A) VISION 2020 Imaging Innovation for its QuantumFilm technology.[17]

References

  1. ^ "Prof. Ted Sargent | Sargent Group". Light.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  2. ^ "EEWeb Pulse - Issue 71 by EEWeb". ISSUU. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  3. ^ a b "DEMO: InVisage's QuantumFilm enables gorgeous camera phone pictures". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  4. ^ SPIE Europe Ltd. "Timer set for silicon sensor switchover". Optics.org. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  5. ^ Jess Lee. "Jess Lee: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  6. ^ Syrus P. Madavi. "Syrus Madavi: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  7. ^ "Smartphone imaging startup InVisage gets over $20M - Silicon Valley Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  8. ^ "TechCrunch".
  9. ^ Vance, Ashlee (March 22, 2010). "Company Sees Leap for Cellphone Cameras". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  10. ^ "Demo tech conference: What to watch for". Content.usatoday.com. 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  11. ^ Greenemeier, Larry (2013-11-14). "Light Improvement: Could Quantum Dots Boost the Quality of Cell Phone Pix?". Scientific American. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  12. ^ "Camera-phones: Dotty but dashing". The Economist. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  13. ^ Shankland, Stephen (2010-03-21). "InVisage aims to remake camera sensor market | Deep Tech - CNET News". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  14. ^ "InVisage's Revolutionary QuantumShutter Image Sensor". Azosensors.com. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  15. ^ "InVisage Technologies, Inc. - Patent applications". Faqs.org. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  16. ^ "InVisage's QuantumFilm Image Sensor Wins Prestigious Wall Street Journal Award". Azosensors.com. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  17. ^ "InVisage Receives Gold Award for QuantumFilm Technology". Azonano.com. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2013-11-18.