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12 December, 2019 - 12:38 By Tony Quested

Apple lawyer replaces Spectral Edge directors amid takeover speculation

US technology giant Apple, which is growing its space requirements in Cambridge UK, appears to have acquired Spectral Edge, a University of East Anglia spin-out commercialising enhanced image fusion technology from The Bradfield Centre at the Science Park.

All Spectral Edge directors have resigned and been replaced by Peter Denwood, Director, Corporate Law – International at Apple.

In July, Business Weekly exclusively revealed that Apple was moving its Cambridge research hub from 90 Hills Road to a new building at 30 Station Road which provides 79,000 sq fit of space with the capacity to accommodate up to 800 people. Regeneration specialist Brookgate, regional contractor R G Carter and fund Aviva Investors started work on Apple’s new facility in October 2019. Completion is due in July 2021.

We speculated that this was to accommodate a fresh acquisition: Apple eased into Cambridge  via the acquisition of little-known speech technology startup VocalIQ. Image enhancement technology looked to be a natural bolt-on if Apple could find the right player in the market. Spectral Edge certainly appears to fit the bill. 

In April 2018 Spectral Edge raised $5.3 million from existing investors Parkwalk Advisors and IQ Capital. 

The new money was to expand the company's R & D team and support the development of real-world applications for its technology in key areas of focus – notably smartphones, webcams and security applications. 

The team, which in 2014 spun the business out of academic research at the University of East Anglia, has developed a mathematical technique for improving photographic imagery in real-time, also using machine learning technology. 

The technology — which can be embedded in software or in silicon — is designed to enhance pictures and videos on mass-market devices. Mooted use cases include for enhancing low light smartphone images, improving security camera footage or even for drone cameras.

Neither Spectral Edge nor Apple could be contacted for up-to-date comment at the time of writing.

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