Adding L* to RGBG

A few months ago I mentioned some research by Hultgren and Hertl about the quality of images from mobile devices, in which they discovered that mobile devices with small image sensors tend to perform very poorly in the circumstances where they are most used: indoors on close-up scenes. Camera-shake, image fuzziness, and large amounts of noise due to the low-light environment were among the top complaints.

It seems that Kodak may have an answer to the “low-light problem” by changing the sensor design in a subtle way. Remember that most digital cameras use a red-green-blue-green (RGBG) color filter array (CFA) over the sensor as a fundamental part of image formation. This “Bayer pattern” (named after another Kodak researcher) looks like this:

Kodak’s novel approach (used in their new TRUESENSE CMOS technology) adds clear gaps in the CFA pattern to increase the overall level of illumination striking the sensor:

There are some trade-offs in terms of color resolution, but the results are pretty impressive. Plus, Kodak is initially targetting the technology for small image sensors where resolution was never very good to begin with and the images stand to improve.

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