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Panasonic's new image sensor could help cars see in the dark


Panasonic's new image sensor tech is designed for taking shots in the dark. The company has made an advancement that provides "electrical control of the near infrared (NIR) light sensitivity of the same pixel in an organic CMOS image sensor." In English, that means it can take photos in near pitch-black without losing detail or resolution -- and it does so without the need for a mechanical IR cut filter. It works by applying different voltages, independently, to different layers of organic films that are stacked on top of the sensor. From the sounds of it, though, this might not be a consumer-focused advance.

Quantum film sensor stops delivery drones crashing into things

New Scientist

A sensor due for launch early next year allows small drones to sense and avoid obstacles with the aid of quantum film. The drone revolution could see fleets of uncrewed aerial vehicles crisscrossing cities delivering pizza, cleaning windows and inspecting infrastructure. But this will only be possible if they can avoid trees, buildings and other hazards autonomously while flying at speed. InVisage Technologies of Menlo Park, California, has built a low-cost sensor that can rapidly detect obstacles up to 20 metres away, using a technique called structured light. The SML-20 projects laser dots that are distorted by any object they strike, allowing the sensor to infer the location and distance of obstacles ahead.

DJI's folding 'Mavic' drone images leak out


DJI's Adam Najberg recently told Engadget that if the average consumer is going to buy a drone, "size is going to be an issue. Judging by a recent leak, the company may not be just musing about such a product. Drone site Heliguy leaked an image of a small camera drone that collapses down for easy transport. If accurate, it could be called the "Mavic," a name DJI recently trademarked. At 1.43 pounds, it would be by far DJI's lightest camera-equipped drone; the second smallest DJI Phantom 2 Vision weighs 2.6 pounds.

Xiaomi's Mi Drone is pretty affordable for what it does


The Mi Drone carries a ball-shaped 4K camera beneath it, that quadcopter-buffs might think looks similar to the built-in shooters found on Yuneec's Typhoon series. To be specific, the camera uses a Sony 12.4-megapixel sensor that can capture video at up to 3,840 x 2,160 at 30 fps; and as you'd expect, it can take RAW photos. Its detachable gimbal does 3-axis stabilization which corrects itself 2,000 times per second, and this is assisted by an optical flow sensor positioned between the camera and the battery bay on the back. Indeed, the sample clip we saw during the livestream looked satisfactory (at one point, Lei said well over 2 million viewers tuned in), so hopefully it's just as good once the drone lands in consumers' homes. While the drone itself looks a bit too familiar, its controller comes with a cute appearance that somewhat assembles a bunny -- the company's mascot -- from afar.