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.

Athentech improves Android image capture



As part of it upgrade to its photo correction apps, Athentech Imaging is also providing a significantly improved photo capture function for Android mobile devices.

The app will offer full-resolution high-speed burst capture and full-resolution panoramas to “put the power of a DSLR in your pocket,” Athentech says. CEO Brad Malcolm tell us it can now “capture multiple images for HDR at 0.05 seconds apart, so that moving objects are no longer an issue.”

Perfectly Clear v4 for Android and iPhone/iPad delivers improved Beautify algorithms “that automatically detect gender, age, and facial features to apply just the right amount of correction,” the company says, and adds blemish removal, face slimming, eye circle removal, shine removal and catchlight.

The $3 app is also 2 times faster in some operations.

There’s more information here.


Perfectly Clear Mobile beautify

Microsoft promotes picture storage on OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive iOSAlbums

Microsoft OneDrive iOSAlbums

Photos are “some of the most important and special types of files that we create,” Microsoft says. “They help us document our lives and share precious memories with friends and family.” Many people store photos on OneDrive, but “we haven’t really offered our users a great way to experience those photos,” the company admits. That changes today.”

Microsoft is updating its online storage service with “an all-new way to view, manage, and share your photos… making your OneDrive photo experience richer and smarter.” The company says customers will be able to curate photos from their phone, desktop and inbox quickly and simply; view, manage, and share photos with Albums; and search for files and photos “in a new and exciting way.”

That way: “OneDrive can now automatically recognize content in your photos based purely on the visuals, and what that allows you to do is really amazing. Our users will have access to automatically grouped collections of photos and they can easily search for specific ones. You’ll be able to quickly find things such as “people,” “dogs,” “whiteboard,” “beach,” “sunsets,” and dozens of other terms. This makes it even easier to add your photos in to presentations for school, to relive a specific memory, or to share something important with all of your friends on Facebook.”

Also, “when you turn on camera backup, we automatically double the amount of space you get for free. That’s 30 GB of free storage, which is enough for over 12,000 photos.”

Details on the new features are here.

PhotoShelter offers photo storage for corporations



PhotoShelter says its new business service “offers a best-in class photo library that’s easy to set up, accessible anytime, anywhere, and gives you complete control over the use of your company’s imagery.”

Libris” offers a centralized image database, advanced search, user access control, sharing functions, archiving, and image rights management. Venture Beat reports it’s “kicking off with 70 paying client companies” and is priced at $5,500 per year for five editors, an administrator, and an unlimited number of end users such as photographers or marketing agencies.

The New York City-based company has offered professional photographers image management tools and services for 10 years, hosting 200 million images for more than 80,000 pro photographers, the company says.

There’s more information here.


Snapchat “discovers” multimedia stories – and ads

snapchat disver

snapchat disver

Mobile visual communications service Snapchat says its Discover “is a new way to explore stories from different editorial teams” and is “the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.”

It’s also a new platform for advertising.

However, the company says that Discover “is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important. Discover is different because it has been built for creatives. All too often, artists are forced to accommodate new technologies in order to distribute their work. This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.”

The demonstration video here shows the predominance of the brands who will sponsor each story, such as National Geographic, Vice, Yahoo News, People, Daily Mail, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, CNN, Food Network, and ESPN.

TechCrunch has more on the business model here.


Case adds iPhone picture printing

prynt iphone printer

prynt iphone printer

Phone photographers who want to print right away can enjoy Polaroid-like instant output with the upcoming Prynt case.

The case prints photos directly from a phone, using thermal-activated photo paper with embedded ink. The case holds 10 sheets of paper. (It’s the “zero-ink”  tech developed by Polaroid offshoot Zink.)

“Plug in your phone, snap a picture, and get a printed photo in seconds,” the developer says. “It’s ideal for when you’re out with your friends, sightseeing, or capturing a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were inspired by the original Polaroid and wanted to recreate the magical experience of sharing physical photos with our loved ones.”

Prynt has a modular design “so it can fit different types of phones,” it adds.

(It also, confusingly, has an augmented reality component: “While you’re posing for a photo, our app records a short video and stores it in the cloud. When you hold your phone over the printed image, our app will automatically scan and recognize it, showing your movie on screen in augmented reality.”)

It’ll be about $100, and is on Kickstarter now.

Case improves iPhone image capture

moment iphone case

moment iphone case

For phone photographers who miss a standard camera’s shutter release button, a new case for the iPhone 6 is designed to “take better pictures, faster,” its developers say.

The top of the case features a multi-state button that enables half-press and full-press features, as on an SLR. “You can half-press it to lock focus and exposure onto a subject like never before, Moment says, “or hold it down to unlock burst mode. What makes our approach unique is this is an electronic button, not a mechanical gimmick. Powered by a coin cell battery and connected to the phone via low energy Bluetooth, we have spent a lot of time making sure the button is incredibly responsive.” The button can also be set to control focus and metering.

The company started out by offering add-on lenses for phones, so the new case will also sports its proprietary lens interface. “It makes your phone lens-ready while providing industrial strength so you can leave your lens mounted in between shots.”

The case is $49, or $124 with a lens (normally $99).

The Moment case Kickstarter campaign launched this week here.

Temporarily tattoo your Instagrams



Temporary tattoos aren’t new, but this Netherlands-based service provides them easily and cheaply: 12 for $14, postage included, made from your photos on Instagram.

The temp tats are made with “high-quality laser printers,” Picattoo says, but print quality “does depend upon the quality of your Instagram photos as well. A sharper more vibrant Instagram photo will come out clearer than a blurry photo of your friends pet cat.”

How long do they last? “Our highly scientific temporary tattoo trials have shown an average lifetime of about 7 days,” Picattoo says, “though if you treat it carefully it can last much longer.”

There’s more information here.


Space, Sound, Sunlight, Sleep – Technology News Digest #4

wrench printed in space

wrench printed in spaceIt’s been another slow news week in the photo biz, but there’s still too much general technology news to keep up with yourself… So let us do it for you!
The new Top Ten Today-Tech digest provides a brief look at recent interesting or important items.

1. NASA emails a wrench to the space station
2. Graphene to extract energy from air
3. Sunlight-to-electricity made much more efficient
4. Capture at 100 billion frames per second
5. App helps autistic kids make eye contact
6. 3D Sound tracks head movement
7. Rewritable paper fabricated
8. Look to Unlock
9. A safer touch in your car
10. Sense your sleep for sounder slumber
You can read the full free briefing here.

A selfie stick for your, er, backside



Okay, it’s for your butt.

Yeah, kids today… For some reason, they’re obsessed not only with “selfies” but with their rear ends (and those of others, judging by how a Kardashian photo recently “broke the Internet.”)

So, selfie sticks with which you hold a camera a yard away while aiming it at yourself are big. What’s the logical evolution of that trend? Right, not this thing — but here it is.

The Belfie is specifically designed to take “rearview” shots. Business Insider reports developer On.com polled more than 10,000 selfie fans, and found many wanted to “highlight their assets from behind, but had difficulty maneuvering this type of shot with a traditional selfie stick.”

If for some reason you actually want one, they’re $80 (!) here. (But seriously, this could be high-margin impulse buy for camera stores to stock.)

Microsoft debuts HoloLens augmented reality



Weird coincidence department: the same week Google all-but cancels its Glass hardware that overlaid computer visuals atop your real-world view, Microsoft debut its HoloLens which can be described as doing the same thing…

“The era of holographic computing is here,” the company says. “When you change the way you see the world, you can change the world you see.”

It has a depth camera, motion sensors, a GPU, and “the world’s most advanced holographic computing platform,” Microsoft says, to “bring high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things. Holograms will improve the way you do things every day, and enable you to do things you’ve never done before. Microsoft HoloLens puts you at the center of a world that blends holograms with reality. As holograms, your digital content will be as real as physical objects in the room. For the first time, holograms will become practical tools of daily life… A new reality.”

…Okay, that is a bit more than Glass, which basically put a camera next to your eyeball and juxtaposed blurry smartphone graphics over what you were trying to look at. Not saying that making you think “digital content [is] as real as physical objects” is particularly a good thing, but it’s certainly more ambitious than Glass — which Microsoft dismisses without naming the “simple heads-up display.”

The untethered holographic computer has “no wires, phones or connection to a PC,” the company adds. The “see-through holographic high-definition lenses and spatial sound” mean you “view and hear holograms in the world around you.”
Here’s a demo video.
CNet has a hands-on look here.


As part of its Windows 10 roll-out, Microsoft also announced the Surface Hub, a huge 84-inch multi-touch video-conferencing screen with built-in cameras, sensors and microphones that “make every person… feel as if they’re in the same collaborative space.”