About Paul Worthington

Paul Worthington is a journalist and consumer imaging consultant. He produces the annual Future Imaging Summit at PMA@CES, and writes for PMA Newsline and PMA Magazine, as well as other publications.

On the PMA Podcast: Bright future for retail

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lucinda daltonWhen new people enter a field, they don’t always know what can’t be done — so they charge forward proving the establishment wrong. That’s been the history of Digital Camera Warehouse, now with four Australian super store locations. While many are retracting their retail footprint in favor of e-commerce Digital Camera Warehouse is doubling down on their physical store locations.

On this episode of the PMA Podcast, Bill McCurry asks Lucinda Dalton how and why she sees a bright future for retail and specifically for Digital Camera Warehouse as it expands its footprint and offerings in Australia. With a common sense approach, Lucinda and her team are finding commitment pays off.
You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

InfoTrends studies point-of-view imaging market

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“In a society where many younger consumers believe that others want (or even need) to see what they are doing,” InfoTrends says, point-of-view cameras “are ideal tools for capturing and sharing moments and events.”

For its new study, the market researcher has looked into “the rapidly growing market,” particularly action, lifelogging, and other wearable cameras.

“POV Imaging devices let consumers capture moments and memories that are impossible with traditional cameras and camcorders,” InfoTrends adds, and “POV imaging is an exciting new segment of the photo market. It has seen a significant amount of activity in the past year, with a multitude of camera vendors introducing new action, lifelogging, and wearable cameras. Consumers are jumping on the bandwagon and buying action cameras and accessories to record themselves performing various activities… Lifelogging and wearable cameras are still in the very early stage of market development, but they have the potential to become significant tools that could change how we use imaging in our daily lives.”

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The Point-of-View Imaging Study examines market and product trends, profiles key industry players, and outlines the current market situation, including market and product trends as well as drivers/barriers to future growth, the company says.

Here’s more information.

 

Microsoft will guess your age

how old do I look 37

how old do I look 37It’s no carnival trick: Upload a photo, and Microsoft’s facial recognition technology will guess your age.

Engineers in the company’s Machine Learning labs are working with imaging tools and APIs, and came up with a webpage that “predicts the age and gender of any faces recognized in that picture.”

The engineers say they’d guessed “most folks would not want to upload their own pictures but would prefer to select from pre-canned images such as what they found online. But we what we found out was that over half the pictures analyzed were of people who had uploaded their own images. We used this insight to improve the user experience and did some additional testing around image uploads from mobile devices.”

Try it yourself here.

 

Investing in Imaging

ldv summit

ldv summit

“New innovations are emerging every month and the digital imaging market is poised for exponential growth,” says investment firm LDV Capital. “Companies are struggling to leverage the right solutions to help them adapt and thrive in the new world.”

At its May 19-20 summit in New York, “the world’s brightest technology innovators:” will discuss trends and technologies in digital imaging and video technology, and “how their visions will transform visual communication and boost or disrupt your businesses.”

Sessions will look at Video, Visual Literacy, Content Monetization, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Satellite Imaging, Sentiment Analysis, Mapping, Commerce Imaging, Medical Imaging, Computational Photography.

Speakers are from firms such as Fyusion, MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research, Dropbox, Cornell Tech, Flickr, Google, Yahoo, Magic Leap, HP, Vimeo, and Qualcomm Research.

Here’s more information.

 

Imaging Innovation Updates

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Graphene holograms, Infrared eyes, a Trillion frames, DNA seen by phone

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Graphene gets into holograms

No goggles required: Australian researchers use graphene oxide and laser physics to create a pop-up floating display.

Graphene is the two-dimensional carbon material that’s popping up everywhere thanks to its many extraordinary electronic and optical properties.

“Our technique can be leveraged to achieve compact and versatile optical components for controlling light,” the developers at Swinburne University of Technology say. “We can create the wide angle display necessary for mobile phones and tablets. Our technology could also underpin future flexible and wearable display devices and transform them for 3D display.”

Here’s more information.

 

Infrared Bionic Eye

infrared eye

A new “visual prosthetic” from Pixium Vision delivers better eyesight to the blind than current implants.

The eye’s retina has photoreceptor cells that respond to light by triggering electric pulses. A 100-millimeter-square chip implanted behind the retina can be powered by photovoltaics — no batteries needed, thanks to its receptivity to infrared light.

It’s not seeing infrared, but rather using the high-power frequency to send both a camera-captured image and power into the chip, which signals the brain.

The prototype system also requires goggles and a separate processor. Test rats achieved 20/250 vision.

Here’s more information.

 

DNA-scanning Phone

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There have been plenty of add-ons for phones that grant new imaging abilities for scientific and medical use — but this one may take the prize: it can see DNA.

The microscope attachment “can image and size DNA molecules 50,000 times thinner than a human hair,” reports UCLA.

Researchers at the university claim they “can turn any smartphone into a DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope.”

A single DNA molecule, once stretched, is about two nanometers in width. Currently, imaging single DNA molecules requires bulky, expensive optical microscopy tools, which are mostly confined to advanced laboratory settings. In comparison, the components for the new device are significantly less expensive.

The smartphone attachment has an external lens, thin-film interference filter, miniature dovetail stage mount for making fine alignments, and a laser diode — all enclosed in a small, 3D-printed case.

Here’s more information.

 

A Trillion frames per second

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A new high-speed imaging technique can record events at a rate of more than 1-trillion-frames-per-second.

That’s more than one thousand times faster than conventional high-speed cameras.

The Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP) technology “holds great promise for studying a diverse range of previously unexplored complex ultrafast phenomena,” says the researcher at University of Tokyo who developed the camera.

Why’d he make it? Because when a crystal lattice is excited by a laser pulse, waves of jostling atoms travel through the material at close to one-sixth the speed of light, approximately 28,000 miles/second — and there wasn’t anything fast enough to capture that. “Since there was no suitable technique, I decided to develop a new high-speed imaging technique in my doctoral program.”

Here’s more information.

TomTom “shakes up” action camera

tomtom bandit

tomtom bandit

Instead of spending hours downloading and sorting through footage, you can edit and share video with a shake, claims TomTom.

Well, you don’t actually shake the camera: that part’s done on a smartphone with the companion editing app… However, “the footage is processed on the camera itself, making the editing process far easier and much faster,” the company says. The Bandit action camera is the first camera with a built-in media server, TomTom adds, “eliminating the need to download footage before being able to edit it.” It uses motion and GPS sensors “to automatically find and tag exciting moments based on speed, altitude, G-force, acceleration and heart rate.”
Then on the smartphone app, “a simple shake instantly creates an exciting movie.”

The camera is waterproof without needing a case, and has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 16-megapixel sensor to capture 1080p video.

Here’s more information.

 

Multiple small sensors to challenge SLRs? Light partners with Foxconn

light patent illo

light patent illo

Bigger cameras with better optics and larger sensors will always take better pictures than phones, right?

Well… maybe not: “We are attacking a $100B industry that is ripe for disruption,” says a new start-up, Light. It’s mission is to “reimagine photography and make high quality imaging universal and ubiquitous,” the company says here.

It plans to do so with multiple modules of sensors and lenses, and computational imaging. It’s not the first new firm to make big promises based on small optics — but it’s the first to partner with major manufacturer Foxconn, which “licensed the Light technology and made an equity investment in Light.”

Another partner, Qualcomm, says “Light’s product will overcome the current limits of capturing high-quality images in small form factors, and will enable people to capture great images while they are on the go without trading image quality for convenience.”

The Imaging Resource has a detailed interview and look at the technology here.

 

 

Imaging Updates April 29

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More Photography News from around the Web:

 

“Spectacular selfies” from LG’s G4 phone

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“Isn’t it time for your smartphone to offer robust picture-taking on BOTH sides?” asks Spring, the communications company marketing LG’s G4.

The 16-megapixel rear-facing camera has an f/1.8 lens; the 8-megapixel front cam captures “epic selfies” with its Gesture Shot function that snaps on seeing a “simple hand gesture.”

The latest Android smartphone from LG has a 5.5-inch display, as well as “Laser Auto Focus technology that allows you to take exceptionally fast photos so you never miss an opportunity to capture the moment.”

It will be out in June. Pricing was not announced.

Here’s more information.

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On the PMA Podcast: Frank Baillargeon to deliver more market research

frank Baillargeon s

frank Baillargeon s

Frank Baillargeon of F/22 Consulting and Iconic Idaho has enjoyed a long career in the photo industry, and now he’s bringing that experience to help his fellow PMA members.

A consultant for many years, he is working with other industry analysts to bring PMA an aggregated resource for the latest market research.

In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Frank talks about how he got started in photography at Kodak, his varied career, and what he’ll be launching soon for PMA.

You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.