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Miniature high-resolution webcams could soon be coming to laptops

Laptops are about to get even slimmer this year, and they won’t necessarily have to give up webcam quality either.

Immervision has announced a new 8-megapixel webcam sensor targeted at laptops and tablets that measures just 3.8mm thin. The module is being billed as the world’s thinnest camera system for a laptop.

Immervision's new small webcam module, next to a Canadian coin.

Immervision describes itself as the “world’s leading developer of advanced vision systems combining optics, image processing, and sensor fusion technology.”

“Immervision’s 8 MP ultra-wide-angle lens-and-sensor combination is only 3.8 mm thick and offers a high-quality solution for a variety of applications that require higher resolution, a wide field of view and advanced distortion control,” the company said of its latest tech at the close of CES this year. “This solution can handle a variety of videoconferencing scenarios, capturing larger scenes with optimal image sensor coverage, pixel density, and quality.”

The high megapixel resolution built into Immervision’s camera module comes at a time when the global health pandemic continues to rage on, forcing many people to shift to, or continue with, remote and hybrid work. Improvements to webcam technology will likely help fuel better collaboration and communications between remote teams.

According to Immervision, the challenge with creating a high-resolution camera sensor in a tight space is being able to shrink the lens and camera module while still delivering high image quality. Many companies are unable to do this, as a smaller module oftentimes lead to low resolution, distortion, and diminished performance in low light.

To overcome this, Immervision, combined its hardware and software together to deliver better results.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 with a videoconferencing app open.

“This miniature camera module can be used in conjunction with Immervision’s Wide-Angle Distortion Correction Dewarping Algorithms, with Face and Body Protection Algorithm, enabling [manufacturers] with an unprecedented, novel, and fresh video call experience,” said Patrice Roulet Fontani, Immervision co-founder and vice president of technology.

The company stated that it is working with laptop manufacturers to bring its camera technology to notebooks, tablets, hybrids, and convertibles. Immervision did not give any estimates as to when we’ll see the new webcam technology pop up.

The rise in videoconferencing has spurred an increase in the number f monitors that now come with a full videoconferencing system built-in. Hopefully, that means we’ll start to see thinner, lighter laptops featuring Immervision’s camera module debut sooner rather than later.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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