Sony’s ‘Smart Skin’ Camera Can See Zits Before They Appear

We’ve all used a little bit of Photoshop magic to take care of a blemish or two when taking portraits, but Sony’s newly announced Smart Skin Evaluation Program (SSKEP) is taking on blemishes in a whole new way. The sensor technology, which was announced just a few days ago, can actually go beyond skin-deep and take a peek at blemishes that haven’t even surfaced yet.

“SSKEP (Smart Skin Evaluation Program), ” [is] a highly accurate, high speed technology for analyzing various elements of the skin, including texture, blemishes, pores, brightness and coloring… Furthermore, pigmentation on and beneath the surface of the skin can be viewed by conducting pixel-by-pixel analysis of melanin in the skin, thus enabling information to be obtained about non-visible skin, including concealed markings and blemishes.

Although Sony hasn’t revealed any specific plans for the technology yet, it seems this is the first of many moves meant to expand the capabilities of its CMOS sensors — especially those found in smaller devices like the iPhone. According to the press release, Sony’s focus is shifting towards the entire “sensing field” as they try to “cultivate a new market where image sensors can be utilized in all facets of everyday life.”

Screenshots showing the camera being used for melanin and pore analysis

Whether this will spark a new market of portable “skin analysis” devices or just add a quirky (if only marginally useful) feature to cameras sporting Sony’s sensors we’ll just have to wait and see. But regardless, there’s a whole generation of future teenagers who may use Smart Skin technology to catch their pimples before they even show up. Of course, they won’t be able to do anything about them… but at least they’ll know they’re coming.

(via PC World via TogTech)

Image credit: Photo illustration based on soy la bomba by pulguita

  • John Milleker

    Many years ago it was found that the light reflecting back your on-camera flash from the back of the eye ‘Red-eye’ can be used as a crude way to detect cataracts or cancer of the eye known as ‘retinoblastoma’. Instead of red, the reflection can appear white.

  • s0undmind

    That image at the top should be labeled a “photo illustration”, otherwise it’s very misleading.

  • Michael Zhang

    We’ve added this note to the credit line. Thanks for pointing this out

  • s0undmind

    Cool. Love your blog, BTW.

  • Philip Han

    Design shouldn’t follow Technology.

    That’s like making problems just so you can solve them.

    How many people would honestly need a camera like this? A very few, yet we are so superficial and consumeristic that we’ll buy anything that can do something other older devices can’t.

    PS: As far as pushing such a useless feature to promote the camera in general when it should be image quality above all.

  • Logan Luckey

    maybe start looking into variable liquid lenses, you know a feature that could really mean something rather than this useless feature, zitts and blemmishes take .5 second to fix and take out, what is the point

  • Matt

    Actually a lot of inventions follow that path, something is noticed and an application if found for it. Should they be ignored because it does not follow a logical order?

    I could see where they might make money off of it with the teenage market, but that is not what makes it interesting. Maybe the technology could detect something like skin cancer or analysis of other skin problems that are major health issues. Doing it with a camera phone or cheap point and shoot would make the technology available to a lot more people than if the analysis was confined to a ultra expensive diagnostic tool.

    So, IMO intresting.

  • John R

    With a sensors ability to capture non visible light-waves then we could be witnessing something worthwhile. Skin cancers could be a possible target for detection.

  • ashleigh

    It is probably a false story. Having worked on design teams developing, testing and packaging various light energy based detection – analyze – diagnose type products, medical and industrial, and followed stories of myriad others, this technology is very, very difficult to get it to approach reliability. Unfortunately it offers so much promise due to simplicity, safety and low power, but usually a technology failure.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Clearasil will stomp the product!