What’s the use of an image sensor that’s 12 times more color sensitive than the human eye? We’re not entirely sure, but thanks to a team of researchers at Universities of Granada, Spain and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy you may someday get to try it out and find out for yourself.
Researchers at those two universities are using “Transverse Field Detector” technology to distinguish 36 individual color channels without any need for a filter, making it 12-times more color sensitive than standard Red/Green/Blue sensors and the human eye both.
This sensor is sort of like the multi-layer Sigma Foveon sensors on steroids, acid and crack at the same time, but the idea at the base of it is the same. TDFs replace your standard color array with materials that take advantage of a simple concept: different wavelengths (read: colors) of light penetrate silicon to different depths.
Using this technology, the new system claims to pick up a whopping 36 different color channels. And since there’s no filter in the way, there’s no loss of light either. They’re able to pick up, “the full colour information from each pixel in the image.”
So, what’s the point of this? Most of the applications mentioned by the researchers themselves are not photography related in the artistic sense: “medical imaging, remote sensing, satellite images, military and defence technology, industrial applications, robotic vision, assisted or automatic driving, and a long etcetera of potential uses.”
Researcher Miguel Ángel Martínez Domingo does mention that there are definitely potential uses in traditional photography though, so if you have ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments. And if you’d like to learn more, you can download the full paper by clicking here.