We initially reported on this story last year, but it seems we're now a step closer to actually seeing the technology become a reality.

Eye-Fi, a start-up company, has secured $5.5 million in funding which means its plans to embed Wi-Fi connectivity into SD format memory cards could be available on the market at the end of the year.

Eye-Fi's innovative technology, currently in Beta trial stage, will appeal to anyone with a Wi-Fi network and an SD card-carrying digital camera.

Eye-Fi's patent-pending technology works with wireless networks to automatically send photos from a digital camera to your computer or online destinations such as photo-sharing or social networking websites.

The technology will be built-into Eye-Fi's special SD cards, rumoured to be up to 2GB in size.

As well as applications in the home, this technology could be used in a retail environment with consumers wirelessly sending pics to be printed.

Although there are Wi-Fi-enabled cameras currently on the market, such as Kodak's EasyShare and Canon's IXUS version, this technology will mean photographers can enjoy Wi-Fi ease of use with their existing digital camera, rather than have to purchase one of the few Wi-Fi-enabled versions around.

Current digital cameras that use the SD card format include Casio's Exilim compact digi-cams, Nikon models, some Pentax cameras and the Panasonic Lumix range.