The basic concept for the design of the Light camera is that lots of (in this case 16) little cameras when carefully configured and managed creatively with the right software can outperform one big one. Have a look at the video below for confirmation. Early adopters can try one out for $2k.
One additional unique feature of the camera is the fact that it provides depth as well, so you have a 3D image. The form factor is pretty sweet also compared to a DSLR.
Now here’s where this story gets even more interesting. The Light system architecture could, I say could replace lidar in driverless vehicles, robots and drones. That’s what SoftBank and Leica Camera (not Leica Geosystems) are betting a combined $121 million in VC investment on. Believe it or not, the cars, robots and drones were not even on the co-founder Dave Grannan’s (pictured above) radar before he met with SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son who helped him to see the light (terrible pun).
“By our second meeting in Tokyo, he said, ‘Where I believe this has the most value is in autonomous driving,’ ” Grannan said. “We were like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Applying it to automotive hadn’t been a thought of ours. Entrepreneurs tend to be focused in their domain space. We do cameras and smartphones, and we were thinking maybe security.”
The new investment brings Palo Alto, California-based Light’s total funding to $186 million. While Grannan declined to disclose the valuation, he noted that it was a “good up round” from two years ago, when it was valued at $148 million, according to Pitchbook.
Photography is a big market, but not compared to automotive, robots and drones, at least in the future. The camera system is lighter and cheaper than lidar.
Click here to learn more about Light.