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New Focus For Digital Photography

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Camera-phone owners can use new software to reprogram these devices--and capture images that would previously have been impossible to get.

Stanford University researchers have made software for the Nokia N900 phone that gives developers, and users, greater control over the phone's camera components than ever before. This software makes a variety of apps possible. Using the software, developers have already created apps that can capture both light and dark parts of a scene, stitch panoramic photos together automatically, and capture extremely sharp photos even in low light.

"My hope is that this will shift the camera industry," says Stanford's Marc Levoy, who leads the group that released the software this week at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles.

Digital photography is normally constrained by the software built into the camera by its manufacturer. A field known as "computational photography" expands the possibilities of digital photography. It does this by using software to provide the user with more control over a camera's components. Prior to the release of the new Stanford software, this kind of control has meant tethering that camera to a laptop. "That doesn't make it easy to try out our ideas in realistic settings," says Levoy.

From Technology Review
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