French technology arrives in smartphones around the world
Deeptech Prophesee has real disruptive technology.
It is on its way to becoming the future attraction on smartphones sold around the world. The startup Prophesee, in the shadows since 2014, has just received support from Xiaomi during a major funding round. The C series of this French specialist in computer vision has just allowed him to recover 50 million euros. At the same time, its management chose to announce to the general public its interest in producing parts for the smartphone and augmented reality market.
Sony and Qualcomm also covet the company, although Prophesee prefers to keep quiet about it. The French nugget has a disruptive technology and icing on the cake, its interest will be directly perceptible by users. The component will influence camera performance.
Making its technology a reference for the various brands of smartphones would be an exceptional opportunity for France to integrate a little more into the global production chain of the market with billions of euros in revenue per year. Prophesee is a startup classified among the “deep tech”, these companies with highly innovative technologies that require much more time than others before they can go to market.
A component for cameras (and much more)
In essence, the French startup is developing a sensor that uses the operating principle of the human eye, to improve the capabilities of smartphone photo modules. To understand its interest, you must first understand how a smartphone camera works. Unlike the traditional camera market, our mobiles owe the quality of their photos largely to the software. Artificial enhancement therefore requires the module to analyze the image it wishes to capture. This is where Prophesee innovates.
In the form of a tiny sensor, the startup's image analysis technology is faster and requires fewer resources than conventional analysis sensors. An efficiency that can be measured and on which smartphone brands see an opportunity to relieve the battery of their smartphones and allow them to take better shots. The difference, broadly, is that the new sensor only focuses on dynamic elements in the image – in other words, anything that moves. A hierarchy of information that the human eye also does.
“We generate 100 times less data by removing static redundant information. This also makes it possible to process information much faster, on the order of a microsecond” explained the founder of Prophesee Luca Verre, to Figaro. The heart of the smartphone is relieved, the device requires less power, and the result for customers is also even better. Prophesee highlights in particular the gain in quality for photos taken in low light, to reduce the risk of motion blur.
The very clever eye of Luca Verre, polytechnician
The technology behind the tricolor nugget would therefore be a real step forward for smartphone brands that are well motivated to improve their devices at a time when technological innovations on smartphones are few in number and the camera remains a major argument for sales. Passing through Lyon, polytechnician Luca Verre explained that he had seen the full potential of the technology after working on it in the research laboratories of the Vision Institute.
Prophesee already markets products, but for professional use, in industry. Strategically, the startup took its time, between 2020 and today, to start deploying its technology in a more traditional market (but no less more specialized). A way to free up time and money to prepare the smartphone market for the tens of billions of euros in revenue generated per year.