Kodak has announced a new sort of filter to go on CMOS or CCD sensors to replace the existing “bayer pattern.” For those who don’t know, a CCD or CMOS chip is inherently only sensitive to variations in brightness, not to colors themselves. In order to get around that, you either need a three chip camera (with each chip filtered to just received red/green/blue light) or you need a bayer pattern on a single chip. Essentially a bayer pattern is just a grid of very small filters, so each pixel on the sensor is only receiving one of the three primary colors. A true RGB image can later be reconstructed by interpolating the pixels.
The new Kodak filter ads a “clear” filter to the existing bayer pattern, which allows for much greater light sensitivity. In essence, it’s like adding a “luma” pixel to the RGB pixels. Pretty clever!