Foveon introduces full-color image sensor that works like film

FEBRUARY 11--Foveon Inc. (Santa Clara, CA; www.foveon.com) has introduced its new X3 image sensor, which improves photographs from digital cameras by capturing three times the color resolution of comparable image sensors found in today's digital cameras.

Feb 11th, 2002

FEBRUARY 11--Foveon Inc. (Santa Clara, CA;www.foveon.com) has introduced its new X3 image sensor, which improves photographs from digital cameras by capturing three times the color resolution of comparable image sensors found in today's digital cameras. The use of Foveon X3 image sensors will lead to digital cameras that are simpler to design for manufacturers and that provide more image quality and performance value to customers.

In addition to increased color resolution, the new technology integrates high-resolution still photography with professional-quality full-motion video within a single image sensor, enabling a new class of dual-mode still/video digital cameras. "Current image-sensor technology has not enabled digital cameras to realize their full potential. We believe the breakthroughs of the Foveon X3 technology will form the foundation of a new generation of digital cameras in all classes," said Jim Lau, Foveon CEO.

The Foveon X3 captures red, green, and blue light at each pixel, resulting in sharper images, enhanced color, and freedom from unwanted "color rainbow" artifacts common in photographs from today's digital cameras. X3 image sensors detect color in a manner similar to that of color film. With film, different colors of light penetrate to different layers of photosensitive material, with each layer detecting a specific color. Using a similar concept, X3 image sensors consist of three layers of photodetectors embedded in silicon and are the first to detect three colors at every pixel location.

In addition, Foveon X3 image sensors incorporate a capability known as Variable Pixel Size (VPS). Full-color pixels can be grouped together to create larger, full-color "super pixels" ushering in a new class of dual-capability still/video cameras. The size of the pixel groups is variable and can be configured instantaneously on the camera. VPS technology allows a Foveon X3 enabled digital camera to capture high-resolution still photographs and full-motion video that offers photo quality superior to 35-mm film and video quality that rivals high-end digital camcorders.

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