With the advent of Internet-connectivity and apps in cameraphones and digital cameras, images can now be shared with others in ways never before seen in the history of photography. Unfortunately, not all of the ways are positive. Some are downright creepy.
Take PlaceRaider, for example. It’s a malicious Android app that hijacks your smartphone’s camera, secretly takes photos of your life, and uses those images to reconstruct 3D virtual spaces of private locations.
Japanese camera blog Egami found an interesting just-published patent by Epson that was first filed last year. The goal of the technology appears to be to make older vintage lenses more useable on newer cameras. Basically, it seems that the company wants to add a small camera/mirror/lens component to the front of camera that’s designed to track the settings on old manual lenses. The photos in the patent show what appears to be Epson R-D1 cameras enhanced with special arms that are dedicated to spying on the lens’ settings.
When tourists visit famous landmarks, they commonly pull out their own cameras to snap some photographs as mementos, even if they themselves aren’t in the picture. Despite the fact that there’s almost always guaranteed to be an identical photograph taken by someone else, somewhere online, there’s something about capturing the moment for oneself that makes redundant photos special.
That’s why a new patent filed by Google is a bit puzzling. It’s called “Image zooming using pre-existing imaging information” and, as the title suggests, revolves around using other people’s photographs to “boost” a digital camera’s zoom.
Over the past decade, many airports around the world have adopted special thermal cameras that can determine whether or not a passenger has a fever. The goal of these cameras is to prevent infectious diseases from spreading and causing an epidemic (or pandemic). Greek scientists Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos recently came up with a similar concept, except their thermal camera is used to detect drunk people instead of contagious people.
If you think male and female photographers sometimes have very different styles, the reason might go beyond their tastes and approaches to shooting. Men and women see the world differently — literally. A new study by vision researchers have found that the two genders have different ways of collecting visual information.
According to the findings, men are more sensitive to moving objects and seeing small details, while women tend to be sharper in seeing color changes.
As people snap more and more digital photos, being able to organize those photos into useful sets is becoming increasingly important. Facial recognition algorithms are quickly becoming a standard feature in popular photo origination programs (e.g. iPhoto), but people-sorting is only the tip of the “semantic photo search” iceberg. Cloud photo service EverPix is one company that’s currently working to take photo recognition beyond faces. Sarah Perez of TechCrunch writes,
[...] the eventual goal for Everpix is to become the default way people choose to view and share photos. One development which could help it get there is the image analysis technology the company has been developing in-house. As people’s photo collections grow exponentially over the years, it’s something that will become more valuable in time. Using generalized semantic tagging techniques, Everpix is building algorithms that can identify what the photo is of – meaning, whether it’s a person, a night or day shot, a wide or close shot, a city scene, a nature photo, a photo of a baby, or a vehicle, or a photo of food, among many other things.
What’s important here is that the way they’ve built this to scale. After training the system on a minimal amount of photos, Everpix can then look for other photos in a user’s collection that match that signature without reprocessing the entire photo collection.
In the future, we’ll likely be able to search for photos with photos. Looking for a particular photo that you took at a popular tourist landmark? Just show the app a similar photo found online, and voilà, yours appears.
Cloud Photos Service Everpix Exits Beta With New Website & iPad App; Semantic Photo Search Coming Soon [TechCrunch]
Photos and details of Nokia’s upcoming Lumia 920 smartphone leaked earlier this week, revealing that the new flagship Windows phone will feature a 8-megapixel sensor, a 4.5-inch display, 32GB of storage, and wireless charging via a special pad.
Although the camera specs seem rather pedestrian compared to the 41MP 808 PureView, patents published last month reveal that the company is working on some special sensor tech for future devices. More specifically, Nokia is working on developing camera sensors that use layers of graphene — one-atom-thick layers of carbon — for big performance advantages over existing sensors.
Hyperspectral cameras are those that can capture information in the electromagnetic spectrum, far beyond what the human eye — and consumer cameras — can see. American Photo Magazine has a fascinating feature that tells of how researchers around the world are using the cameras to uncover century and millennium-old mysteries:
The historic discoveries are just getting started. No one yet knows how much researchers and scholars will find with this new generation of hyperspectral technology. More than a hundred years ago, in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, archeologists found piles of illegible papyrus. Recently, University of Oxford researchers found that they contained fragments of a lost tragedy by the ancient author Sophocles, of whose plays only seven were known to have survived. New imaging methods have also found portions of a poem by Archilochus that reveal new details about the genesis of the Trojan War. The research at St. Catherine’s could settle long-standing debates over the origins and foundation of some of the world’s major religions.
Discoveries using hyperspectral photography so far include revisions to the US Declaration of Independence, hidden words in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a possible Abraham Lincoln fingerprint on a copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Peeling Back the Hidden Pages of History With Hyperspectral Photography [American Photo]
P.S. Last year, a group of scientists was able to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary Canon 5D and random off-the-shelf parts.
Image credits: Photographs by Abby Brack Lewis and the Library of Congress
If you think modern day hard drives store a lot of data, get a load of this: researchers at Harvard have succeeded in storing roughly 700 terabytes of data in a single gram of DNA. The strands of DNA are treated much like other storage devices, except instead of using electric charge or magnetism to store information, DNA’s four bases (A,C,G,T) are used.
What if the battery in your camera could be charged in the same amount of time it takes to microwave a cup of instant noodles? It sounds crazy, but that’s what appears to be headed our way.
Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have figured out a way to drastically cut down the time it takes to recharge a lithium-ion battery — the same kind found in most digital cameras.