There is an new development in photo imaging chip technology. Korea Electronics Technology institure has developed a single carrier modulation photo detector (SMPD) chip which allows digital cameras to take images without a flash in dark spaces.
This sounds like a pretty exciting development (obviously I would need to wait and see the results) as low light situations are the bane of photos. Direct flash, the one available to anyone using a compact, is terrible for photo taking. It flattens everything and leaves your subjects looking washed out. Not using flash results in a blurry and grainy image: while this might look passable on your 2 or 3 inch lcd, it looks awful on a screen or printed out.
Obviously if your lucky enough to have a decent SLR you've got a better range of ISO, the choice to use indirect flash, and lenses that probably have a greater aperture range. However you are still going to struggle to get a decent quality image.
The digital camera equipped with the chip will be able to take high-resolution photos or video-recordings at 1 lux. The camera will be able to snap pictures in places such as theaters, underground traffic tunnels, or dark-lit bars and clubs. The chip promises clear pictures with light as bright as the lighting from a candle 1 meter away in a dark room and is said to be 2,000 times more light sensitive than other sensor types. The will initially be used for camera phones, CCTV cameras and vehicle rear-view cameras.
This definitely sounds like it won't be something that will be pushed for professional photography uses, which makes me wonder about the potential quality of the images.
SMPD-enabled devices take clearer, crisper images in low-light situations without the distortion or energy-drain of a flash. Planet82 SMPD technologies include a black and white, full-color VGA and two mega pixel color sensors.
Full colour VGA is not a very high resolution. So amazing though this technology might be, it definitely sounds like they are pushing at the (admittedly massive) mobile phone segment. Certainly this would be a boon for anyone who uses their phone as their camera, and I am sure that the potential power of this could make it's way into higher end camera solutions.
Even if it is a low resolution chip, I could easily foresee a double chip situation where the camera intuitively switches to the low-light chip for certain situations.
There are no details that I could find about production or release schedules.