The guys at Apple Insider have discovered another camera-related patent that has been granted to Apple by the USPTO. U.S Patent No. 8,988,564 for a "Digital camera with light splitter" describes a smartphone camera module that uses a prism to split incoming light into three color components which are captured by three separate image sensors, one dedicated to each color channel. Similar to the Foveon Sensor used in most Sigma cameras such a system does not require a demosaicing process and can therefore capture better detail than a standard Bayer pattern sensor.

The Apple design uses a cube arrangement to split the light. It includes four identical polyhedrons that meet at dichroic interfaces. Light wavelengths are then filtered by optical coatings on each interface. The wavelengths allowed to pass the filter are directed toward three sensors that are located around the cube arrangement.

The patent is an extension of another Apple patent that looks at using mirrors and optical elements to implement optical image stabilization and zoom capability in small devices, such as smartphones. In such a design the light splitter could be used for image capture. More detail can be found in the patent document on the USPTO website.

Source: USPTO | Via: Apple Insider