MIT's new chip promises 'professional-looking' photos on your smartphone
Lauren Crabbe | Published: Feb 22, 2013 at 16:49:13 UTC16
Mobile photographers may see better images from their devices with a new processor developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT claims the new technology will convert "smartphone snapshots" into "professional-looking photographs" with just the touch of a button. The technology aims to instantly create more realistic or enhanced lighting in a photo without affecting the image’s ambience.
According to MIT, the chip can perform super fast HDR processing for both still images and video, but will be especially helpful with low-light photography. By embedding the technology into the chip, rather than running it as software, the processes can be more energy efficient — ideal for mobile devices.
MIT explained the low-light imaging in a statement from its news service:
So in this instance the processor takes two images, one with a flash and one without. It then splits both into a base layer, containing just the large-scale features within the shot, and a detailed layer. Finally, it merges the two images, preserving the natural ambience from the base layer of the nonflash shot, while extracting the details from the picture taken with the flash.
The research, funded by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, has been turned into a prototype by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. This devicem built using 40-nanometer CMOS technology, has been integrated with a camera and display for testing. No plans for commercialization have been revealed.