Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Scientists Build a Digital Camera That Can Be Absorbed by the Body

What if there were a disposable digital camera that you could eat after using? Sounds bizarre, but it already exists. Scientists in the US are working on uber-thin electronics that can be dissolved inside the human body once their job is done. Among the many possible uses being explored is photography.
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Epson Patent Shows a Camera That Uses a Tiny Lens to Recognize Old Lenses

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.
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Google Patents Way to Deliver Zoom By Giving You Someone Else’s Photo

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.
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LIFX: A WiFi-Enabled LED Bulb that May Revolutionize Photographic Lighting

What if there existed a lightbulb that you could completely control using your phone? And by “completely control”, I don’t mean simply switching on and off. I mean being able to precisely control the brightness of the light emitted, and even the exact color of the light.

It sounds crazy, but it’s a light bulb that’s actually being developed. Created by Phil Bosua of San Francisco, the LIFX is a Wi-Fi enabled LED light bulb that can be wirelessly controlled using an iPhone or Android device. While Bosua imagines a plethora of home and commercial applications, it’s the bulb’s photographic potential that we find very exciting.
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Wearable Cameras May One Day Give Us Ultra-HDR Vision

When doing certain types of welding, special helmets with dark lens shades should be used to protect the eyes from the extremely bright welding arc and sparks. The masks help filter out light, protecting your eyes, but at the same time make it hard to see the details in what you’re doing. In other words, the dynamic range is too high, and wearers are unable to see both the arc and the objects they’re welding.

A group of researchers in the EyeTap Personal Imaging Lab at the University of Toronto have a solution, and it involves cameras. They’ve created a “quantigraphic camera” that can give people enhanced vision. Instead of being tuned to one particular brightness, it attempts to make everything in front of the wearer visible by using ultra high dynamic range imaging.
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Nokia Photo Challenge Shows Off the Low-Light Ability of PureView Cameras

Nokia has endured a torrent of bad press over the past couple days over its faked promo video, but the truth is, the company is investing heavily in improving photography in its mobile phones, and its PureView technology is definitely something we should be keeping our eyes on.

In order to back up its claim that PureView low light performance is “unbeatable”, Nokia set up a “photo challenge” booth at its launch party and invited passers-by to pit their cameraphones against the Lumia 920. The challenge involved shooting a photograph of a still life setup stuffed inside a dark cubby hole in a brick wall. Check out the video above for a glimpse of how the phone’s camera stacked up against the iPhone’s and the Samsung Galaxy’s.
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Thermal Cameras Could One Day Have Drunk-Face Recognition

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.
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EverPix Building Semantic Photo Search for Giant Picture Libraries

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]

Patent Shows That Nokia is Working on Graphene-Based Camera Sensors

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.
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How Hyperspectral Cameras Are Being Used to Uncover Ancient Mysteries

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