Has Apple acquired UEA spin-off Imsense?

A pioneering photographic technology firm established to bring University of East Anglia research to market has been bought by Apple.

Imsense, which operated from bases in Norwich, Thetford and Cambridge, developed a range of applications using its trademark Eye-Fidelity dynamic range correction technology, used to reveal details lost in over or underexposed photos.

Created from UEA research, the process – based on a complex algorhythm – can be used in digital cameras or photography software or to improve previously taken digital photos and video.

Neither Apple nor Imsense have confirmed the acquisition, but documents filed with Companies House reveal a number of Apple staff were appointed as directors of the company last month.

Gene Levoff, Apple's corporate counsel, Joseph Wipfler, vice-president, and Elizabeth Rafael, principal accounting officer, all took up directorships with Imsense, while others, including chief executive Philippe DeWost, saw their directorships terminated.

Braveheart Investment Group, which invested in Imsense in June 2008, also announced it had sold its stake in the company to an 'undisclosed trade buyer' in July – believed to be Apple.

Braveheart said it received �342,000 for its stake, more than double the �150,000 which it originally invested.

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The announcement also confirmed other investors also sold their shares in the company on the same terms.

Imsense also created an iPhone application for the technology, called Im-Photo, sold from Apple's App Store, which proved a hit globally, selling 50,000 downloads on Christmas Day last year, and becoming one of the most popular apps in the UK and Germany.

The app has since been removed from the App Store.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Imsense technology may have been used to support Apple's iOS 4.1 software update, which allows the iPhone 4 camera to take high dynamic range photos.