Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This is Computer science professor Marc Levoy of Stanford shows off his prototype "Frankencamera". He is the son, grandson and great-grandson of opticians, so he comes naturally by his interest in things visual. He imagines a future in which the camera is able to make adjustments that better mimic what the human eye is capable of. What He is holding "is big and ugly". It's made from recycled parts, but just for now...

This "Frankencamera" is just like an iphone that can be altered in nearly infinite ways, depending on the applications downloaded to it. So, this is made to beat even the best SLR today.

Mr Levoy and his colleage, developed a program that instructs the camera to take two rapid shots if a frame has both dark and light parts. One shot exposes correctly for the dark; one shot exposes correctly for the light. The program then merges the two images into one, taking the best parts from each. These are just a couple of examples of how programmers could change the future of photography with the Frankencamera. The camera, use Linux operating system, which is "open source," which means the camera owner can change everything about the electronic guts.

Frankencamera is only a prototype for now, and Mr. Levoy says they will not compete with Nikon and Canon, just to try and push traditional camera makers to incorporate more of these flexible ways of producing images in their cameras. Presumably, it will become smaller and more elegant over time.

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