Friday, July 23, 2010

Nokia N900 Becomes Open Source Camera Platform

Nokia Conversations, Stanford University News, Physorg report that Staford "Frankencamera" platform is now available on Nokia N900 Linux-based smartphone. Stanford professor Marc Levoy, who leads the project says: "We are releasing code so that people can create new imaging applications on their Nokia N900s".

The platform has a number of image processing add-on subroutines, such as Low-light Assistant to avoid the choice between a quick exposure that will look sharp, but dark and noisy, and a long exposure that will have enough light, but likely be blurry. Instead, the app captures two images in rapid succession and then automatically combines them, resulting in a photo that is better than the both.

HDR Capture add-on takes up to three images with different exposure settings and combines them to an image that shows the details of both the foreground and background objects, without under or over-exposing any of them.

Now "Frankencamera" is in the public domain, and the hope is that Nokia developers and open-source community will work to create a whole new class of programmable camera applications which will be gathered together on the project web site.

Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto, Adobe, Kodak, HP and the Walt Disney Company funded the project. Meanwhile, the Staford researchers have been awarded a $1M grant from the NSF, shared with colleagues at MIT, to begin making professional-style SLR cameras, equipped with the software platform, for free distribution to computational photography professors around the country.

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