Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photo Future

By reimagining digital cameras, MIT scientists could help overhaul the art of photography.
Raskar... is hoping that he and others at MIT and around the world can spark a revolution in photography. Researchers in a field called computational photography are rethinking digital cameras to take better advantage of the computers built into them. They envision a day when anyone can use a camera with a small, cheap lens to take the type of stunning pictures that today are achievable only by professional photographers using high-end equipment and software such as Adobe Photoshop. In fact, they think such cameras could exceed today's most sophisticated technologies, overcoming what have seemed like fundamental limits.

Computational photography encompasses new designs for optical components and camera hardware as well as new algorithms for image analysis. The goal, says Raskar, is to build cameras that can record what the eye sees, not just what the lens and sensor are capable of capturing. "If you're on a roller coaster, you can never get a good picture," he says. "If you're at a great dinner, you can never take pictures that make the food look appetizing." But with computational techniques, cameras could eliminate blur from a snapshot taken on a bumpy amusement-park ride. Such cameras could also capture the subtle shapes and shadows of food and people's smiles in the low light of a candlelit dinner--without a long exposure time, which invariably produces blurry pictures, or the use of a disruptive flash.
Read the whole thing. And bring it on!

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