Mr. Cognis from The Tomorrow News Network is not just a regular cameraman. He’s a cybernetic cameraman with his camera surgically attached to his head. Of course, cybernetic cameras haven’t been invented yet, so we’ll have to make due with the technology we have. Fortunately, camera makers have developed some pretty cool new ways to use what we have, and cameras are doing things no one would have expected just a few years ago.
Researchers at Stanford University have been working on an open source camera, nicknamed “Frankencamera.” Most digital cameras are closed source, meaning you cannot alter the programming inside them. An open source camera like Frankencamera allows clever computer people to change the way the camera works, potentially inventing new photography methods no one would have thought of otherwise. The source code for Frankencamera has been released and is in use on Nokia’s N900 smart phone.
Another new camera technology on the market is called Lytro. This is the camera for anyone who’s ever taken a photograph only to discover it was blurry afterwards. The Lytro camera has an extra set of lenses inside, allowing it to capture more information than a traditional camera. Using that additional information, you can go back later and change the focus so that your picture isn’t blurry anymore. Click here to go to the Lytro website, and check out the photo gallery where you can try changing the focus of various sample images.
The Pelican Imaging Corporaion, headquartered in California, has developed technology even cooler than Lytro. Not only can their camera allow you to refocus an image after you take it, but it can see through obstacles like fence posts or the branches of a tree (click here to see a video of how they do this). Pelican’s camera is actually an array of 25 teeny, tiny cameras all working together. Just like Lytro’s extra lenses, these extra cameras supply additional information so that images can be refocused or adjusted later. Best of all, this array of cameras is small enough to fit inside a smart phone.
Digital cameras are changing rapidly. Other tricks include seeing around corners and picking out images from the reflections in people’s eyes. Click here for the full article on all the cameras I’ve mentioned and more from Science News. Of course, no computer processes visual information as well as the human brain, an advantage cyborgs like Mr. Cognis still have over the rest of us.