This smartphone sensor wants to fix bad white balance permanently

Even while smartphone cameras have come a long way in recent years, most are still far from flawless, despite their convenient and user-friendly nature. Finding the optimal white balance continues to be one of the most pressing concerns. There are funnel solutions in image processing software, but a hardware implementation would be preferable. Spectricity debuted a new multispectral picture sensor at CES 2023 that claims to permanently address the issue.

Images with improper white balance tend to have either colder or warmer tones, which can drastically alter the appearance of things like human skin tones, the colour of water, and the appearance of artificial interior lighting. Spectricity’s new S1 image sensor (via The Verge) uses the visible spectrum of light and looks beyond it, into the near-infrared area, whereas Google’s Real Tone on Pixel phones addresses this issue, especially when dealing with darker skin tone.

The S1 may be used in conjunction with the camera of any existing smartphone to enhance the white balance of the captured images. Traditional image sensors only capture light in the visible spectrum, which is converted into pixels of varied red, green, and blue (RGB) intensities that provide a range of colours. According to Spectricity, the S1 can capture accurate colour and aid in the creation of true-to-life photos even in low-light situations.

Jonathan Borremans, CTO of the business, calls the S1 a “genuine technological milestone.” It was announced this week that, according to his research, the company’s sensor “benefits from more complete spectral signature information, giving you photos with more accurate colours. We predict that spectral imaging will soon be standard in all electronic gadgets, including cameras.”

Meanwhile, Spectricity CEO Vincent Mouret says that this new spectral imager is reasonably priced, and that consumer-ready smartphones equipped with this sensor should be available sometime in 2024. In the not-so-distant future, Spectricity technology will be standard on “all smartphones,” he predicts. For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that sell several units, the firm now offers assessment kits.

We recommend the finest accessible picture editing applications if you simply cannot wait for this auxiliary sensor to find its way to your future smartphone. Changing the white balance of a photo after it has been taken is far from ideal, but even slight modifications can improve the final product.