Kodak reinvents the pixilated wheel

Kodak Color Grid

Since digital cameras surpassed the “sweet spot” threshold of six megapixels, camera makers have been involved in an arms race over the misguided belief that more megapixels are better. Trouble is that unless designers increase the size of the chips, all those extra megapixels are good for is more noise, especially at ISO settings above 800. So what does one do if one can’t enlarge the CCD chips in a compact point and shoot? Kodak thinks the idea is to reinvent the pixilated wheel. The result is the Kodak KAC-05020 Image Sensor.

Here’s how it works. Rather than rely on the tried and true design of red, green and blue pixel pattern (also known as the Bayer Sensor Pattern) Kodak’s design adds panchromatic pixels to the red, green and blue grid. The result is more light sensitivity. In addition, the new CMOS approach looks at the absence of light creating electrons, rather than counting what electrons are created. The result promises to be lower noise levels, greater sensitivity and better quality digital images at higher ISOs.
If the technology pays off, it could be the breaking of the digital still light/noise barrier equivalent to the sound barrier being broken in 1947 by Chuck Yeager. And it could leader to far better digital cameras in the point and shoot realm, which currently suffers from megapixel envy and a lack of light sensivity.

Source: Wired Mag