Spectral imaging gives phones the power to capture more colors than eyes can see

(Image credit: Spectricity)

Many new products have been unveiled during CES 2024, showcasing the latest and greatest state-of-the-art consumer products, many of which are pushing the boundaries of technological advancement. One of the manufacturers doing just that is Spectricity, a company that creates spectral sensing solutions.

Spectricity has unveiled the S1, the first miniature, mobile device-ready multispectral image sensor. The new sensor will be utilized in the best cameraphones to recreate true colors by analyzing the spectral signature of an object or scene. The ability to capture accurate colors offers benefits across all areas of mobile photography however, it would make a significant impact in commercial and e-commerce photography.  

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So what exactly is spectral imaging?

Spectral imaging combines the disciplines of spectroscopy and photography, reading data from many wavelength bands. Ordinary cameras can read Red, Green, and Blue (RGB), but spectral imaging can read full visible to near-infrared range. Spectral imaging is often used in industries such as medicine for testing and land surveying to detect various layers of dense matter such as foliage. (DJI, for example, offer a version of their Mavic 3 drone with a multispectral camera for agriculture, but it has several lenses). It is also used to distinguish subjects through unique spectral signatures, analyzing their colors in more detail than we can with the naked eye. Spectricity's S1 sensor aims to use this to enable mobile devices to record true-to-life color.

(Image credit: Spectricity)

Jonathan Borremans, CTO of Spectricity states, “The S1 marks a phenomenal advance over any multispectral imager on the market. No one to date has managed to fit these specs into a miniature chip. The S1 can be integrated into any mobile device.”

The S1 is currently being tested on current and upcoming mobile devices from the most popular phone manufacturers. It is expected to make a 'significant commercial impact in the consumer devices market'.

Spectricity states, “Essentially, even your high-end smartphone camera is color blind. The S1 uses richer spectral signature data, resulting in much higher color fidelity in your pictures. We’re confident that spectral imaging will become an essential component in all devices that include a camera.”

We are seeing mobile photography advancing at what feels like an unprecedented rate, with features like periscope lenses and AI assistance becoming the new norm (found in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra). This tells us that consumers are still demanding more from their camera phones, especially with the popularity of content creation. The ability to record cinema-grade video and DSLR-quality photographs on one device that is always in your pocket is becoming vital for social media users.

The S1 by Spectricity is a piece of the puzzle that has yet to be addressed and has the potential to offer even greater value and performance to mobile devices by helping them and their software replicate true / perceived colors. It will be interesting to see which cameras use this technology, and how (and of course if any brands hold out against it!)

You may also be interested in our guides on the best stylus phones and the best phones for video and vlogging

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.