January - 2014 - issue > CEO Spotlight
Visualizing the Future of Imaging Industry
Kartik Venkataraman
Founder & CTO-Pelican Imaging Corporation
Monday, January 6, 2014
In the last few years, the most prevalent trend shaping the imaging industry has been the development of small pixels with increased efficiency and the concomitant development of high resolution optics and optical image stabilization. These trends have led to the development of ultra-high resolution smartphone cameras that leverage the small pixels through low F# lenses and oversampling. These new technologies enable high quality pictures in challenging light conditions with the ability to support optical zoom. However, the cost of such technologies remain high and out of reach of most but the highest end devices.

Notwithstanding recent trends, the limitations of smartphone cameras today mainly revolve around their poor low light image capture and dynamic range. The industry's main focus revolves around technologies to address these limitations and these include computational array cameras, and new pixel technologies such as Quantum Films that significantly improve light sensitivity. In addition, there is an increasing need to acquire depth or 3D information. Besides computational array cameras, time-of-flight sensors, and cameras with structured near-infrared illumination are some of the technologies being actively explored. I see 3D becoming a mainstay of cameras in mobile device in the very near future.

The biggest challenge one faces is staying relevant in the face of a changing business environment. With the pace of innovation rapidly increasing, a startup has a limited window to bring their technology to market. The value proposition one brings to the table needs to be sustainable in the face of such rapid innovation. Besides the challenges at the company level, the challenges at a personal level revolve around the ability to focus on the key problems in the midst of many distractions, and the assembly of a highly competent core team that can grow into future leaders of the company.

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