MIT develops vision-correcting displays

MIT corrects vision 3

MIT corrects vision 1

Are you squinting at your phone? I am, and I’m tired of it. Fortunately new technology could solve the issue not just with bigger fonts, but with an overlay screen that could tailor every device to your own individual optical prescription.

MIT Media Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new display technology that automatically corrects for vision defects — no glasses (or contact lenses) required, MIT reports. “The technique could lead to dashboard-mounted GPS displays that farsighted drivers can consult without putting their glasses on, or electronic readers that eliminate the need for reading glasses, among other applications.”

MIT corrects vision 2

The solution “basically puts the glasses on the display, rather than on your head,” the chief scientist behind it says. “It will not be able to help you see the rest of the world more sharply, but today, we spend a huge portion of our time interacting with the digital world.”

The display is a variation on a glasses-free 3D technology, and projects slightly different images to different parts of the viewer’s pupil. “A vision defect is a mismatch between the eye’s focal distance — the range at which it can actually bring objects into focus — and the distance of the object it’s trying to focus on,” MIT says. “Essentially, the new display simulates an image at the correct focal distance — somewhere between the display and the viewer’s eye.”

MIT corrects vision 3

The full story is here.



Printicular provides 4 million prints



More than four million prints have been made from mobile phones using the Printicular apps, developer MEA Mobile reports. “Millions of prints means millions of smiles,” the company says.

The free Printicular apps let you order prints from a mobile that is picked up at Walgreens in the USA, or for delivered to your home worldwide.

Printicular “shows that physical prints are still the best way to turn digital images into the memories people want to cherish,” the company says. “Printicular now generates over a quarter of a million prints a month, and growing.”

The company also released new PhotoCard and Poster printing apps.

Pelican demos array camera’s 3D captures

pelican array sensor

pelican array sensor

A new sensor design with computational imaging captures the complete depth information of the scene, claims Pelican Imaging, “allowing users to refocus after the fact and perform an unprecedented range of edits.”

Like the lightfield camera from Lytro, the new camera will let you “focus on any subject, change focus (even on multiple subjects) after you take the photo, capture linear measurements, scale and segment your images, change backgrounds, and apply filters,” the company says.

The difference: “all from any device.” Pelican’s camera system will work in compacts and even phones. The “super-thin mobile array camera is less than 3mm thick, “about 50 percent thinner than best-in-class current smartphone cameras” the company says  “It is the first mobile plenoptic camera to capture video, 30 fps at 1080p resolution, and still images at approximately 8 megapixels, with excellent image quality.”

Also, with no autofocus mechanism or other moving parts “every scene is captured in complete focus.”

There’s more information here, along with a “Life in 3D” video that features Pelican Imaging CEO Chris Pickett explaining “Depth-Based Photography.”


Amazon opens 3D Printed Products Store


BobbleWhole[1]Today, Amazon launched the 3D Printed Products Store, which it calls “a marketplace that gives customers access to more than 200 unique print on-demand products, many that can be customized by material, size, styles and color variations, and personalized with text and image imprints.” The store features products like jewelry, toys, home décor and fashion accessories.

“The 3D Printed Products store enables every customer the opportunity to be a product designer. From pendants to decorative vases to bobble head figurines, the new store features a broad selection of items to foster creativity. The store includes modestly priced customizable items sellers are currently offering for under $40, including cufflinks, bobble head figurines and funky wine glass holders. In the $100 price range, customers can design customized fashion accessories like pendants, earrings and necklaces,” Amazon said in an announcement.

Selfies spur Sony sensor sales


sony-curved-sensor-chartSony is already leading the market when it comes to the primary image sensors in smart phones — but many shots these days are “selfies” taken with the lower-resolution secondary camera …and now Sony wants a piece of that action, Reuters reports.

Sony will invest $345 million to increase production of image sensors for smartphones and tablets as the company courts handset makers to get more orders for front-facing camera sensors, the news story says. “The Japanese firm said it will increase production of stacked CMOS sensors at two factories on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, while completing work on a factory in northwestern Japan it bought from Renesas Electronics.” The investment will allow Sony to raise production by 13 percent to 68,000 wafers a month by August 2015.

Sony currently supplies sensors for the main camera in Apple’s iPhone, Reuters adds, and the company leads Omnivision Technologies “whose sensors are mostly used in front-facing smartphone modules that typically have lower specifications than the main rear camera.”

The full article is here.

There are also reported rumors that the company’s curved sensor design is already heading to phones as well.

480 cameras snap 3D

carnagie camera dome

carnagie camera dome

Many SFX creations in movies today rely on motion capture, which covers actors in specialized suits with markers to record an their positions and movements. Now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University report they’re capturing 3D motion without the suit — just a new algorithm, and a whole lot of cameras.

The tracking system is housed in a geodesic filled with 480 cameras to track 100,000 different points in motion.

“The 3D tracking is so accurate that it can actually capture the motions of every individual particle in a handful of confetti tossed into the air,” Gizmodo reports. It uses off-the-shelf camera technology, and can be scaled almost indefinitely.

The full article is here.

Carnegie Mellon University’s paper, MAP Visibility Estimation for Large-Scale Dynamic 3D Reconstruction, is here.


Drones light photo subjects, win awards for image capture

mit drone light

mit drone light

We’ve seen a lot of photos and videos captured by drones lately — but did you know they could also help you capture better shots yourself?

Researchers at MIT and Cornell University think the autonomous vehicles could automatically assume the right positions for photographic lighting.

“Lighting is crucial to the art of photography,” MIT says. “But lights are cumbersome and time-consuming to set up, and outside the studio, it can be prohibitively difficult to position them where, ideally, they ought to go.”

They might change that by providing “squadrons of small, light-equipped autonomous robots that automatically assume the positions necessary to produce lighting effects specified through a simple, intuitive, camera-mounted interface.”

The researchers will present a prototype system at the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging in August.

More information is here.

 drone stagram-eagle

That’s how drones might help you take better pictures — but of course, they also take shots “by themselves.” And now they are winning awards for it.

The 2014 Dronestagram Photo Contest “rewards the photos that show the best the fantastic potential offered by drones,” the organizers say.

The contest was sponsored by National Geographic, Go Pro, and others.

The full list of winners — and several amazing photos — are here.


Small 360-degree lens “revolutionizes selfies”

immervision lens

immervision lens

A new thin lens design may enable “every mobile and wearable device to deliver an unprecedented 360-degree experience,” claims optics developer ImmerVision.

The 3.8 mm panomorph (wide-angle panoramic) lens is the world’s smallest, the company adds, and makes “distorted fish-eye views and camera accessories obsolete.” It’s designed for compact phone or wearable devices, “yet it is capable of doing what no other lens can: deliver a distortion-free 360×182-degree view without having to pan the camera.”

Lens manufacturer Kolen is licensed to produce the lens, and plans to make it available by the end of this Summer.


“Skinny lens” could yield cheaper surveillance cameras

french thin lens thermal cam

french thin lens thermal cam

“Dark alleys might not feel so dangerous someday thanks to a new ultra-thin type of lens, which could pave the way to making smaller and cheaper heat-sensing imagers.” That’s the claim of a team of French researchers who say they’ve found a way to make a thermal infrared camera with a lens made of  a much less expensive material: silicon.

The silicon lens is as thick as a fingernail with a diameter less than that of a No. 2 pencil, according to a report from The Optical Society. “Although its resolution is not superb, the lens is good enough to reveal the presence of a person and some general features.”

Potential applications for the imager include more affordable surveillance, particularly for home use, the researchers say. “It could detect people in a room, on a street corner, or in a dark alleyway.” The thin lens design could be a breakthrough in lowering the cost of thermal infrared camera lenses by using materials that are cheaper than traditional ones such as germanium and chalcogenide.

The design has been patented, but further work remains to make it marketable at a truly affordable price.

There’s more information here.


The July/August issue of PMA magazine is now available


Magazine_issue072014_700x454The July/August issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities is live and online.

In this issue, discover the excitement of The Big Photo Show LA 2014! Read about all the opportunities this event, held in May, brought to photo enthusiasts and imaging businesses; check out interviews with attendees; and read (and even watch) interviews with exhibitors.

In addition, this issue revisits retailers we interviewed a year ago about getting consumers to make prints and photo products from mobile images. Discover what a huge difference a year has made in technology, ease of use, and big profits.

Also in this issue:

  • Hans Hartman of Suite 48 Analytics reveals trends in mobile photography and output
  • LifePics is betting on 3D printing
  • The 2014 AIE Future Imaging Summit panel on output explains current trends
  • Panasonic’s Darin Pepple explains how 4K and hybrid photography are changing the game
  • How the Tran family escaped terrors in Cambodia – then built one of the most successful imaging businesses in Australia
  • In the U.K., The Photography Show picks up where Focus on Imaging left off