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Leica and Huawei set up optical systems lab

26 Sep 2016

‘Max Berek Innovation’ research center will work on new optical systems, computational imaging, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is extending its collaboration with Germany-based Leica Camera, with the two firms setting up a new research and development laboratory focused on optics.

Called the Max Berek Innovation Lab, the research center will be based at Lecia’s global headquarters in Wetzlar. It follows the spring 2016 signing of a long-term technology partnership in the field of optical engineering between the two.

So far, Leica and Huawei have launched a series of smart phones, but the new laboratory is expected to deliver further advances in optical systems and software that will improve imaging quality in cameras and mobile handsets.

On top of that, Leica is hoping for breakthroughs in computational imaging, augmented reality and virtual reality. As well as collaborating with each other, the two companies say that they are planning to work with universities and research institutions in both Germany and elsewhere

Close collaboration
Andreas Kaufmann, Leica Camera’s majority shareholder and chairman of the firm’s advisory board, said:

“With the founding of the Max Berek Innovation Lab, Huawei and Leica Camera are expanding the scope of their successful strategic relationship and are laying the foundation for close collaboration in research and development of groundbreaking technologies in the imaging segment.”

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei added: “In the future, over 90 per cent of data traffic will be images and videos. The Max Berek Innovation Lab provides the capacity to establish an even closer partnership with Leica, leading to continuous improvements in image and video quality. As a result, we will deliver the most advanced innovations in the smart phone camera market and bring greater value to consumers.”

Leica Camera’s current COO, Markus Limberger, has been appointed as the director of the new laboratory. He said: “The Max Berek Innovation Lab offers us a historic opportunity to unite the resources and extensive expertise of both companies to pioneer game-changing technologies.”

Max Berek, the scientist after whom the research center is named, is regarded as a microscopy pioneer, and creator of the very first Leica lenses. He was also responsible for the optical design of more than 20 lenses for the 35 mm film camera invented and built by Oskar Barnack, recognized as a pivotal moment in camera design.

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