Thursday, November 09, 2017

Invisage Acquisition by Apple Said to be Confirmed

Techcrunch receives what it believes is Apple's confirmation of acquisition of Invisage:

An Apple spokesperson has confirmed the acquisition to us with its customary statement:“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Techcrunch also found other evidences of the acquisition:
  • There are a handful of InVisage employees that are already noting on LinkedIn that they work for Apple. We were able to determine that several more who have not updated their LinkedIn profiles are also working there. Meanwhile, InVisage erased the section of its web site that detailed some of its senior staff (but you can still find those pages through web archiving services).
  • InVisage itself went radio silent on social media and other communications channels in November of last year - this one is incorrect as Invisage has presented its progress at IISW 2017 in June.
  • The legal firm representing InVisage changed in September. It’s now using the same firm that Apple uses for all its patent work.
  • Several people we contacted connected to the company told us they were not at liberty to discuss the acquisition, but in doing so also inadvertently confirmed that it took place.
  • More public evidence of a sale (but not to whom) is that multiple InVisage VC backers now list the company as exited on their web sites.

Few figures from Invisage paper presented at IISW 2017 in Hiroshima, Japan in June 2017:

R53: A QuantumFilm Based QuadVGA 1.5┬Ám Pixel Image Sensor with Over 40% QE at 940 nm for Actively Illuminated Applications.
Lionel Barrow, Nikolai Bock, Aurelien Bouvier, Dario Clocchiatti, Jian Feng, Naveen Kolli, Andras Pattantyus, Vitanshu Sharma, Tzi-Hsiung Shu, Emanuele Mandelli. InVisage Technologies, USA

Thanks to JH and AD for the pointer!


  1. Impressive QE. However, 19e- read noise and 600e/s dark current are a little scary.

    1. Actually it's possible to get 40% QE at 940nm by using some modified CIS process, but the DC and noise are LOW LOW and LOW!

  2. Invisage was good at making marketing videos for their technology. Apple has too much money sitting around and decided to buy. Hope their tech makes it into a product, otherwise that paper might be the last of what we see on quantum film. It took many years for Apple to get a product using Primesense so may be we have to wait a while before Invisage shows up in an Apple product.

  3. Early publications by Prof. Sargent's group on quantum dot colloidal photodetectors (the core of InVisage technology) indicated a number of "interesting" effects one would expect form this sort of devices - a very strong frequency dependence of responsivity (down to very low frequencies - of the order of 1-10 Hz), carrier transport in the matrix affected by traps (with very long and wide distributions of lifetimes), very large photoconductive gain - over 100 (and hence a large noise gain), etc. Also, not discussed there - at gain larger than 1, contact effects are playing a very large role (where the secondary carriers are coming from, and how do they know they need to be injected form the contact?). Very similar effects have been observed earlier in similar type of infrared detectors - QWIPs and QDIPs.

    These may be some of the challenges for this technology, that InVisage obviously chose not to discuss publicly.

    Hopefully, these effects are well understood and under control now.
    If not - Apple will have to sort this out.


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