Fast Forward to Rewind

The fact that most of us now carry a camera everywhere we go – all of the time – has led to some stunning advances in imaging engineering. Stitched panoramic images, which used to be a struggle to create, are now automated to the point of a button push. Single smartphone images are large and sharp enough to be used in print (even on the front page of the New York Times).

Now GigaOm points us to Scalado‘s new Rewind technology, which lets you “create the perfect group photo.” When you tap the shutter, the camera captures burst of five full resolution photos, in quick succession. (Two are captured before you tap, one at the instant you click and two just after.)

Then the software uses facial recognition algorithms to isolate each person’s head and let you zoom in to select the grab where each person has the best expression. When you’re done choosing, press the check mark and the image is seamlessly melded into a final picture, immediately zoomable at full size.

Here’s a video demonstration from a recent Android and Me conference:

A collaboration between the Swedish Scalado, open mobile OS licensing body Symbian, processor manufacturer Texas Instruments and camera sensor developer OmniVision, the solution combines software and hardware programming to work its magic, so will need to be built in to future devices (as opposed to being available as an add-on app). Hopefully the company will decide to target high-end cameras as well as smartphones.

The applications for this are huge in the world of professional photography, although it might put a few retouching houses out of business. Classroom portraits and wedding gigs will never be the same! How about sports, or journalism? Capture that perfect moment, even though you don’t know exactly when it will take place. And even architectural or landscape shooting could benefit, to freeze a waving branch or flag in the perfect spot.

As an artist and designer, my love and appreciation for engineers continues to grow.

[h/t Tim Carmody]

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