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Industry Exclusive: Former ASF Executives Staff Startup Operation

A startup firm, Image Trends, Inc., has been incorporated in Austin, TX and is staffed by ten former members of Applied Science Fiction, the firm that was acquired by Kodak and subsequently closed down.

Dan Sullivan, former president and CEO of ASF, will serve as president of Image Trends; Mike Conley, ASF's vice president of marketing, will be the vp of sales and marketing; Dr. Al Edgar, a co-founder of ASF and the technical force behind many of that firm's creative developments, will be the chief technical officer.

ASF caused some industry stir in the late 90's with the creation of a ‘dry' film process that would develop film without wet chemicals and capture a digital image for output to a CD or printer. A few sample Digital PIC units were produced and field tested by ASF before Kodak purchased ASF in 2003 and turned the operation into its Austin Development Center. Though Kodak subsequently introduced it to the trade, the dry processor appeared to be ill-timed as digital swooped in and the project was dropped.

Kodak closed down the Austin Development Center in 2005.

Though its high profile dry processor never made it to market, ASF did develop a number of products that are still in use and being sold by Kodak. The most popular of them is Digital ICE, a technology that digitally eliminates dust and scratches on film for cleaner prints and has been incorporated under license for use in certain manufacturers' scanners, and minilab equipment.

Other ASF developments included plug-ins: Digital ROC, to restore and color correct images; Digital GEM, to reduce film grain noise; Digital SHO, to optimize contrast and exposure.

Kodak retains the technology and patents for all of the ASF intellectual property.

Mike Conley said that Image Trends will concentrate on providing digital image technology for amateur and professional photography as well as for OEM use. “No”, he said, dry film processing will not be pursued.