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New emerging camera technology from Toshiba, Samsung and Silicon Valley startup Pelican Imaging brings the idea of depth perception to your smartphone and other small cameras.
The camera shown by Pelican CEO Chris Pickett and Vice President of Marketing Paul Gallagher was an 8 megapixel camera but unlike a normal single image sensor chip; The new camera has 16 (or even 20) individual sensors. Once a picture is taken each of the different sensory take an image at various angles and compiles them. Then an algorithm used by astronauts to measure the depth of object in space creates depth and high focus resolution. When demonstrated, you could take an image from the camera and change the focus after it taken, shifting from the foreground to background freely.
While the Lytro’s camera offers a similar changeable depth and the Microsoft Kinect has image sensors, there are other improves that offer some decent promise. First it should be noted that the Lytro's camera lacks resolution and the Kinect depends on bouncing light, which is not suitable for outside use. Past that you can use the camera to detect 3-D gestures and facial recognition.
One of the other noted potential uses for the camera was in cars. Some higher end cars already offer small cameras and proximity sensors but the Pelican Imaging camera could solve it one step. Or put a camera inside the car to register the placement and posture of passengers and properly set off specific airbags during an accident, maximizing safety.
Toshiba and Samsung should have models supporting the camera within a year and Pelican Imaging is continuing to work more into the camera.