If you thought the megapixel wars were over, you might want to gear up once again. Samsung has revealed plans to release a 576-megapixel smartphone sensor by 2025.
At the SEMI Europe Summit, which took place back on September 1, 2021, Samsung’s Senior Vice President and Head of Automotive Sensors, Haechang Lee, presented a slide showing the history of the company’s image sensor technology. As visible in the graphic below, and first reported on by Image Sensors World, the timeline highlight’s the company’s ambitions to have a 576MP smartphone sensor available within the next four years.
|Click to enlarge.|
While this seems absolutely ridiculous, the timeline for such a high-resolution sensor would be consistent with Samsung’s past and current jumps in technology. Samsung stated in April 2020 its goal is to develop sensors with resolutions at or above 500MP, which is believed to be the effective resolution of the human eye.
|An illustration from Samsung showing how its Nonapixel technology works to provide higher-resolution in well-lit environments, while sacrificing resolution for improved low-light performance in dark environments.|
Samsung is aware of the technical challenges and physical limitations of increasing sensor resolution on smaller sensors, but is ready to take on the task, saying ‘to [Samsung] engineers, “technological limitations” are just another challenge that motivates their innovation.’ It continues, later in the article, that ‘Through relentless innovation, [Samsung is] determined to open up endless possibilities in pixel technologies that might even deliver image sensors that can capture more detail than the human eye.’
It’ll be interesting to see what breakthroughs Samsung will make to reach this goal. But if the past decade is anything to go by, there’s little doubt we’ll see such a sensor within the next five or six years.