Pelican Imaging's 16-lens camera could arrive in Q1-Q2 2015: "digital imaging has run out of gas"

Pelican Imaging is a company that aims to revolutionize the smartphone camera with a whopping 16-lens solution, and it may finally arrive in real-world devices in the first or second quarter of 2015, according to Pelican Imaging chief executive Chris Pickett. At CES 2014, Pickett confirmed that the company is negotiating a deal with manufacturers, and explained what his company’s new camera will bring to market.

First, Pelican’s solution is much thinner than the current generation of camera sensors and would allow for even thinner devices. You might not have known this, but we have arrived at a point where the thickness of the camera module is actually a huge factor, often dictating the thickness of the device as a whole.

It’s not all about form, though. Pelican’s 16-lens camera array brings a couple of functional breakthroughs in mobile photography. Having 16 separate lens means that the camera is capable of capturing 16 different points of view simultaneously. With 16 different lenses, you can be certain that everything in your pictures will always be in focus. Pelican demonstrated how you can actually select the focus of an image after you capture it, so you don’t have to worry whether you’ve got it right or whether something little but important is out of focus.

Additionally, the 16 lenses capture a full depth map, so a single image shot on Pelican’s camera contains information about the position of each object. You can even learn the distance between two objects on a photograph shot on Pelican. Imagine the possibilities for architects, or say, interior designers wondering whether that sofa would fit in a particular space.

The full depth map, however, has one huge other use. Having a full 3D image means that it can be easily used to create a printable 3D model of the object you photograph. Imagine being able to just snap a picture of something, run it through a 3D printer, and then have a small figurine of your photograph! That’s exactly the field where Pelican hopes to find shared excitement with device manufacturers.

Pelican’s camera is also capable of capturing HDR video, using the stream from all 16 lenses and combining it into a single one with higher dynamics.

All of that requires a huge amount of computing power, but good news is that it already runs on today’s generation of, say, top-shelf Snapdragon chips. "There's no question that, much like digital took over from film photography, computational imaging will take over from standard digital imaging. Digital imaging has run out of gas," Pelican CEO Pickett said earlier in an interview. All it takes is to have it implemented in a real device. Are you excited about that possibility?

source: GeekBeatTV



1. Medel

Posts: 84; Member since: May 31, 2011

i'm waiting this for Nokia! :)

3. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

not only you, but we are too.

8. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Why nokia? Wait on all manufacturers

11. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Well, Nokia has been working exclusively with Pelican, and if I'm not mistaken they have stake in Pelican..

2. Beijendorf unregistered

This is in direct contradiction to the rumors that Nokia will use a PiCam in their upcoming flagship. Either those rumors are wrong, or they simply mean "In 2015 Pelican Imaging will release their very own camera, instead of licensing their technology".

5. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

I'd take this as a rebuttal personally, but who knows! We were all hoping to see a Pelican Imaging cam on a phone/tablet in 2014, but early 2015 does not sound bad either. Keep in mind that this is a full-on camera platform with an SDK and so on.

10. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I think that 2015 would be when the market could see something like what Pelican Imaging is offering. The folks at Apple have a case of Not Invented Here, so they won't be an early adopter. Nokia likewise has to be convinced they have to license the technology (plus, their new master (MS) has to reach the same conclusion). Google has baked their N6 design for 2014. Same for Moto, Sony and the rest of the Android community. Who is left - BlackBerry? 2015 seems more likely as a time for PI's tech to see volume sales.

12. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Nokia is already in bed with Pelican. I would not be surprised if the code for Refocus and the code that helps with PiCam, be similar.

4. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Waiting for the same and excited too.

6. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Great news, whoever brings it first will be my mate.

7. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Now this is innovation.

9. IliyaBeshkov

Posts: 261; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

I think MEMS autofocus system is more advanced..

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