The majority of in-camera editing and enhancing, especially on the mobile front, is done via software. Software that, according to MIT’s Rahul Rithe, “consume[s] substantial power, take[s] a considerable amount of time to run, and require[s] a fair amount of knowledge on the part of the user.”
In order to bypass this problem, Rithe and his team of researchers at MIT have developed a new imaging chip that can act as a photographic “jack of all trades” when it comes to taking your smartphone photos to the next level. Read more…
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s the quote by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke that you’ll find on Cardiio‘s homepage. It’s a quote that is quite appropriate, given what the app can do.
The app is a touch-free heart rate monitor that can accurately tell you your pulse by simply looking at your face through your phone’s camera. Read more…
The camera obscura has been around for a long time (Middle Ages long) and typically consisted of a box or room with a hole in one side through which an image of its surroundings could be formed. As you can see from the example above, any room — in this case a bathroom — can be turned into a camera obscura given a small enough “aperture.” Unfortunately, most rooms have big, blaring windows that let in too much light, and the only image formed on the opposite wall is a shadowy blob.
In the name of forensics, however, Antonio Torralba and William Freeman from MIT have discovered a technique by which they can turn any windowed room into a camera obscura, using a couple of stills of the room to magically gather an image of the outside world. Read more…
Here’s a video overview of some interesting research that’s being done in the area of video processing. By taking standard video as an input and doing some fancy technical mojo on it, researchers are able to amplify information in it to reveal things that are virtually invisible to the human eye. For example, you can detect a baby’s heartbeat by simply pointing a camera at his/her face. The method is able to visualize the pulsating flow of blood that fills the face.
MIT researchers are at it again: the university’s latest research project to receive attention from tech blogs the world over is their new self-cleaning, anti-glare, fog-resistant glass. They’re calling it “multifunctional” glass, and by using a nano-textured surface it eliminates glare and fogging entirely, essentially making it invisible.
As an added bonus, water droplets “bounce” off of this type of glass like little bouncy ball. As of right now the process involved in making the glass is complicated and would be too expensive to implement on a large scale, but the researchers have both hope and ideas for how to make this a reality. When that happens, photographers can cross their fingers that we’ll start seeing lenses made of this special glass. We certainly hope it happens: no dust, no fog, no glare… yes please!
MIT’s Media Lab is no stranger to innovation; from super-high-speed cameras to cameras that can see around walls, they always seem to be on the cutting edge of imaging innovation. Their newest project, the EyeRing, is yet another innovative idea that could some day revolutionize the way we take pictures and experience our world. Read more…
Back in 2010 we shared that MIT was developing a special camera that uses echoes of light to see around corners. Now, two years later, the researchers are finally showing off the camera in action. It works by firing 50 “femtosecond” (quadrillionth of a second) laser pulses 60 times at various spots at an angled wall. A special imaging sensor then collects the scattered light that’s reflected back and uses complex algorithms to piece together the scene based on how long the photons take to return. The process currently takes several minutes, but researchers hope to reduce it to less than 10 seconds, which would make it more useful for military and industrial applications.
Here’s an interesting look at the amazing camera being developed at MIT that shoots a staggering one trillion frames per second — fast enough to create footage of light traveling:
[...] the researchers were able to create slow-motion movies, showing what appears to be a bullet of light that moves from one end of the bottle to the other [...] Each horizontal line is exposed for just 1.71 picoseconds, or trillionths of a second, Dr. Raskar said — enough time for the laser beam to travel less than half a millimeter through the fluid inside the bottle.
To create a movie of the event, the researchers record about 500 frames in just under a nanosecond, or a billionth of a second. Because each individual movie has a very narrow field of view, they repeat the process a number of times, scanning it vertically to build a complete scene that shows the beam moving from one end of the bottle, bouncing off the cap and then scattering back through the fluid. If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years. [#]
They believe that the technology may one day be useful for medicine, industry, science, or even consumer photography.
MIT scientists have discovered that graphene, a material consisting of one-atom thick sheets of carbon, produces electric current when struck by light. The researchers say the finding could impact a number of fields, including photography:
Graphene “could be a good photodetector” because it produces current in a different way than other materials used to detect light. It also “can detect over a very wide energy range,” Jarillo-Herrero says. For example, it works very well in infrared light, which can be difficult for other detectors to handle. That could make it an important component of devices from night-vision systems to advanced detectors for new astronomical telescopes.
No word on when DSLRs will start packing graphene sensors.
Here’s a long exposure light painting tutorial by a couple MIT Media Lab students. In addition to teaching the basics of the technique, they also show off a robot arm that they programmed to do extremely precise light painting photos and animations. Read more…