July 30, 2010

Camera 4.0: point & shoot futures

Camera technology seems to be advancing faster than computers, maybe as a part of a general shift toward the development of portable devices. Here's a few recent examples...

Gizmag looked at the Canon Wonder Camera Concept displayed at Expo 2010; here's their video report:

And showing at SIGGRAPH 2010 was the "Frankencamera" project from Stanford (more at Technology Review via @Coleran). Here's an excerpt from the project page (which also includes a video), The Frankencamera: An Experimental Platform for Computational Photography,

"Although there has been much interest in computational photography within the research and photography communities, progress has been hampered by the lack of a portable, programmable camera with sufficient image quality and computing power. To address this problem, we have designed and implemented an open architecture and API for such cameras: the Frankencamera. It consists of a base hardware specification, a software stack based on Linux, and an API for C++.

Our architecture permits control and synchronization of the sensor and image processing pipeline at the microsecond time scale, as well as the ability to incorporate and synchronize external hardware like lenses and flashes. This paper specifies our architecture and API, and it describes two reference implementations we have built. Using these implementations we demonstrate six computational photography applications: HDR viewfinding and capture, low-light viewfinding and capture, automated acquisition of extended dynamic range panoramas, foveal imaging, IMU-based hand shake detection, and rephotography."

The Frankencamera is now available as a free download for Nokia N900 "mobile computers."

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