Enhancing image capture and display

Advanced algorithms revolutionise digital cameras and displays to mimic human vision - achieving commercial success

Seeing objects as ‘real’ is a result of the perceptual capabilities of our eyes.

This realism is difficult to reproduce in images captured by cameras and displayed on screens, due to limitations that degrade image quality.

In partnership with Apical (acquired by ARM in 2016) we developed technologies that advance image capture and display across the full range of devices serving the mobile, broadband, broadcast and automobile sectors.

Our impact

Our research underpins a range of popular consumer products

  • Improved image quality captured by cameras – 120M unit licences (£7.5 million) sold by Apical and 100 million systems-on-chips, sold by ARM UK.
  • Improved viewer experience produced via an Assertive Display (AD) – 1 billion unit licences (£10 million) sold by Apical and 0.5 billion display processors with AD technology sold by ARM.

The research

Our research has supported the development of two key features of image enhancement and display.

Apical funded two PhD studies that developed several image enhancement algorithms (2010-16), including improvements to image colour, clarity, depth, focus and definition between light and dark.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the company allowed us to further improve these algorithms and optimise the subjective quality of raw images captured by camera sensors.

Meanwhile, Innovate UK funding supported our research around the use of ambient light sensor (ALS) output to enhance the clarity of images – irrespective of light conditions – on mobile handsets and TVs. In tandem, we developed a novel solution for HDR video representation, coding and display. Two KTPs allowed us to refine and apply our research findings to optimise ALS use – and make systems more energy efficient.

This cutting-edge research has been adopted by Apical and ARM and embedded into their technology – improving our ability to capture and enjoy digital images.

Research funders

  • Apical Ltd
  • ARM
  • Innovate UK

Development partners

  • Apical


Commercialisation of the research was carried out by Apical who generated revenue through the sale of the intellectual property.

When Apical was acquired by ARM, in 2016, ARM continued licensing Apical's technologies - creating new revenue streams by embedding the IP in ARM hardware.

Meet the experts