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2/5/2008
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Kodak Builds Sensor For 5-Megapixel Camera Phones

The sensor combines Color Filter Pattern technology with a CMOS pixel, allowing a high level of resolution in small optical formats using smaller pixels.

Kodak this week unveiled a new high-resolution image sensor that's expected to bring 5-megapixel cameras to more mobile phones.

Kodak said its KAC-05020 Image Sensor is the world's first 1.4-micron, 5-megapixel device. It's designed for the mass market to be used inside consumer devices, such as mobile phones.

The sensor combines Color Filter Pattern technology with a CMOS pixel, allowing a high level of resolution in small optical formats using smaller pixels. That means the KAC-05020 offers better image quality than other small-pixel sensors, which can produce poor images, said Kodak.

CMOS -- or Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor -- can be used as a light sensor to capture images taken by digital cameras. Kodak uses a reengineered version of the technology called Truesense CMOS pixel that improves the design and structure of the pixel for better imaging performance.

"By completely rethinking the design of the CMOS pixel and leveraging our work with high sensitivity color filter patterns and algorithms, Kodak was able to develop this remarkable new sensor that will enable a level of imaging performance previously unavailable from CMOS devices," said Chris McNiffe, general manager of Kodak's Image Sensor Solutions business, in a statement.

Once embedded into mobile camera phones, the KAC-05020 will enable advanced features like digital image stabilization, rapid auto-focus, red-eye reduction, and facial recognition, Kodak said. It will also support 720p high-definition video capture; it employs the progressive-scan technique to produce an image in a continuous fashion.

Kodak's new sensor will be showcased next week at the GSMA Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain. Samples of the sensor will become available in the second quarter of this year.

While it's uncommon, some mobile phones already come with built-in 5-megapixel cameras. Last month, Samsung unveiled its SGH-F490 iPhone-like multimedia phone with a full touch screen. The phone has a 5-megapixel camera and video capabilities, and so do Nokia's N95 and N82 multimedia devices, and Sony Ericsson's K850 Cyber-shot phone.

Kodak hopes its new sensor will bring the capability to even more phones.

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