Pelican Imaging Touts Prototype Array Camera for Mobile Devices

Pelican Imaging announced its prototype “array camera” for mobile devices that uses multiple lenses to record a single high-quality image. The company hopes this will appeal to manufacturers who want to make a slimmer smartphone, and to users interested in leveraging computational imaging (adding features such as the ability to alter focus after an image has been captured).

The three-year old company has received $17 million in venture funding. Its technical advisory board includes Marc Levoy, who co-designed the Google book scanner and helped launch Google Street View; Shree Nayar of Columbia’s Computer Vision Laboratory; and Bedabrata Pain, who co-invented active pixel sensor technology for mobile phone cameras.

“Pelican’s technology has the potential to upset the traditional tradeoff between the sensitivity and resolution of a camera and its thickness,” Levoy said, adding “Pelican’s solution is small, fast and inexpensive — which makes it a very exciting technology.” According to Nayar, the technology is a “paradigm shift in imaging and video” likely to “bring computational imaging applications to the mass market.”

Check out this Engadget post to see a video about observing a scene with multiple cameras through synthetic aperture photography.

Related CNET article: “Pelican shows slim phone-camera prototype” (2/9/11)

For more information, visit the Pelican press release.