Apple Acquires Nanotech Image Sensor Startup InVisage Technologies

Posted: 10th November 2017 13:01

Apple has made another acquisition, this time buying InVisage Technologies, a startup that develops solutions to improve imaging capabilities on space-constrained devices, such as smartphones.

An Apple spokesperson has confirmed news of the acquisition to TechCrunch: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

In addition to the statement, other signs of the acquisition include a number of InVisage employees noting on LinkedIn that they now work for Apple. InVisage also erased the section of its website that detailed some of its senior staff, and its social media and other communications channels went silent last November. And while none of InVisage’s 27 patents have transferred over to Apple’s ownership yet, the company is now using the same firm that Apple uses for all of its patent work.

Founded in 2006, InVisage raised $98 million in funding from backers including InterWest Partners, Nokia Growth Partners, Intel Capital, CRV, GGV Capital and more.

Its key product, QuantumFilm, combines software technology and material science to create smaller imaging technology that is better at taking high-quality pictures in a variety of non-optimal lighting conditions.

“QuantumFilm is a photosensitive layer that relies on InVisage’s newly invented class of materials to absorb light; specifically, the new material is made up of quantum dots, nanoparticles that can be dispersed to form a grid once they are synthesized,” explained InVisage. “Just like paint, this dispersion of solid materials can be coated onto a substrate and allowed to dry.”

QuantumFilm is able to absorb the same amount of light as silicone, but in a layer that is 10 times thinner and made specifically to absorb the full spectrum of light, allowing for more efficient and complete processing.

And while it remains to be seen how Apple will utilize the technology, InVisage said it can also be used in IoT applications and to help with “authentication, autonomy, and augmented or virtual reality.”

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