Computational imaging has given us some interesting and useful inventions so far, from fake bokeh to capturing the movement of light. This time, scientists have figured out how to take a clear image from as far as 28 miles (45km), regardless of the Earth’s curvature and the amount of smog in the air.
Light, the company behind the Light L16 camera which contains 16 sensors and lenses, has announced that they’ve teamed up with Sony to create the next generation of multi-camera smartphones. Well, we knew Light was working on something to do with phones, and now it looks like it’s official.
Google Pixel 3 may only have one rear camera, but it relies heavily on Google’s promising AI to deliver high-quality images. The latest feature Google launched for all three generations of Pixel lets you shoot clean and bright images in near darkness – even when you can barely see anything with your own eyes. It works on both front and rear cameras, and you don’t even need a tripod or a flash.
Google, it seems, is acquiring Lytro. Yes, the company that made that crazy light field camera and then got out of photography to move into VR and cinema is being snapped up. In a deal which TechCrunch report to be worth either $40mil or $25mil, depending on who you ask, Google will pick up the company in an “asset sale”. Presumably, this will include the 59 patents related to light-field and imaging technology which Lytro owns.
This whole “computational photography” thing always felt a little bit weird. But it also intrigued me. The idea that a computer can realistically create things that weren’t actually shown in the original shot is pretty amazing. Maybe it was seeing this scene in Blade Runner as a kid that did it for me. It was pure fantasy back then, but we’re getting there.
A new “computational zoom” technology developed by researchers at Nvidia and UCSB brings us a step closer to Deckard’s reality. Essentially it allows the photographer to change the focal length and perspective of an image in post, but this description barely does it justice. It actually allows you to simulate multiple focal lengths simultaneously. Here, watch this video, and it’ll all make sense.
At just 200 microns in diameter, this may very well be the smallest camera in the world. Patrick Gill, a senior research scientist for a technology licensing company named Rambus, has developed a camera sensor that can capture pictures while still retaining a near-microscopic size.