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article imageApple acquires InVisage, a nanoscale imaging tech startup

By James Walker     Nov 9, 2017 in Technology
Apple has acquired InVisage technologies, a startup that's using nanotechnology to create more advanced imaging sensors. Although neither company has commented on the reports, the acquisition aligns with Apple's increased interest in imaging technologies.
Rumours of the undisclosed purchase first appeared last month. In a new report today, TechCrunch said it has confirmed that InVisage is now part of Apple. Apple gave the site its usual statement, saying it buys smaller companies "from time to time" and will provide no further comment.
InVisage Technologies was founded in California in 2006 and had raised over $98 million in funding. It has developed a unique technology which enables smaller image sensors to be created without sacrificing image quality.
The company's work is based on material science and properties of nanomaterials. InVisage's main product, QuantumFilm, is described as a "photosensitive layer" formed from quantum dot nanoparticles. It's a much thinner alternative to the image sensors inside smartphones and cameras.
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InVisage has developed the concept from scratch, building almost everything required to research and implement the idea. Instead of using regular silicon, image sensors of the future could use QuantumFilm to create photos of identical image quality. The crucial difference is that QuantumFilm is around ten times thinner than a silicon wafer, allowing imaging sensors to be placed in much smaller devices.
It's unclear whether Apple has specific intentions for the tech. QuantumFilm has applications in several current and emerging fields of technology though, including smartphone cameras, the Internet of Things and virtual and augmented reality.
Apple is growing its presence in all of these fields and there are signs it's planning a new line-up of next generation products. QuantumFilm imaging sensors may be a significant differentiating factor for its next devices. Smaller image sensors could create thinner smartphones or less bulky augmented reality headsets, the latter offering improved comfort and increased immersion.
The acquisition was previously rumoured to have completed in July of this year. InVisage has been silent on social media for over a year, a sign that negotiations with Apple may have been ongoing for much longer. Several former InVisage employees now list Apple as their employer on LinkedIn. Patents registered in the company's name have also been transferred to Apple's legal firm, providing public evidence for the silent purchase.
More about Apple, invisage technologies, Imaging, image sensors, nanomaterials
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