Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Foveon X3 Technology
A digital camera should see color the way the human eye does.
"It's easy to have a complicated idea," Carver Mead used to tell his students at Caltech. "It's very, very hard to have a simple idea."
The genius of Carver Mead is that over the past 40 years, he has had many simple ideas. More than 50 of them have been granted patents, and many involved him in the start-up of at least 20 companies, including Intel. Without the special transistors he invented, cell phones, fiber-optic networks, and satellite communications would not be ubiquitous. Last year, high-tech high priest George Gilder called him "the most important practical scientist of the late 20th century."
"Nobody," Bill Gates once said, "ignores Carver Mead."
X3 is the latest and most innovative product from Foveon Inc., the Silicon Valley digital-imaging company that Mead, 68, founded in 1997. Named for the fovea centralis—the part of the human retina where vision is sharpest and most color perception is located Foveon took as its mission another radically simple idea Mead loves: "Use all the light."