iPhone graphics designer: photorealism on smartphones just a few years away

Coming to iPhone...7?

Smartphones could have photorealistic graphics in a couple of years

If photorealism is the ultimate goal for gaming, then we could be nearing end times. According to the head of Imagination Technologies, the company behind the iPhone 5's PowerVR GPU, ray tracing technology is about to completely revolutionise graphics in the mobile space.

Ray tracing is able to recognise and interpret the way light interacts with objects, calculating how much is absorbed by the surface, and resulting in a highly-defined level of realism.

"Ultimately this technology is destined for mobile," said Sir Hossein Yassaie. "I think you'll begin to see that technology in a couple of years.

"It will just go from here to higher performance, smaller and better [devices]."

Yassaie added that while we could be enjoying the benefits in two years, the technology may not reach its full potential for "three to five years". "Within five years it will be in everything that matters," he said.

Imagining the possibilities

Of course, it won't just be about mobile. Ray tracing will be huge across all areas, including tablets and games consoles where Yassaie believes the technology will take off first.

Imagination acquired Caustic Graphics, the developer of real-time ray tracing technology, back in 2010, and has already started shipping the technology on chipsets.

Imagination's designs currently appear in a wide range of products on the consumer market, from phones and tablets to TVs and radios. You can read TechRadar's full interview with Sir Hossein Yassaie about ray tracing technology right here.