Open-source camera may help reinvent digital photography

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Washington, September 4 (ANI): Stanford scientists may revolutionize digital photography with the aid of an open-source digital camera, which will give programmers around the world the chance to create software that will teach cameras new tricks.

Marc Levoy, professor of Computer Science and of Electrical Engineering, says if the technology catches on, camera performance will be no longer be limited by the software that comes pre-installed by the manufacturer.

He has revealed that virtually all the features of "Frankencamera" - focus, exposure, shutter speed, flash, etc. - are at the command of software that can be created by inspired programmers anywhere.

"The premise of the project is to build a camera that is open source," said Levoy.

Graduate student Andrew Adams, who has helped design the prototype of the Stanford camera, imagines a future where consumers download applications to their open-platform cameras the way Apple applications are downloaded to iPhones today.

The camera's operating software is expected to be publicly available in a year.

Users will be able to continuously improve it, along the open-source model of the Linux operating system for computers or the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

Programmers will have the freedom to experiment with new ways of tuning the camera's response to light and motion, adding their own algorithms to process the raw images in innovative ways.

Levoy's plan is to develop and manufacture the "Frankencamera" as a platform that will first be available at minimal cost to fellow computational photography researchers.

Within about a year, after the camera is developed to his satisfaction, Levoy hopes to have to have the funding and the arrangements in place for an outside manufacturer to produce them in quantity, ideally for less than 1,000 dollars. (ANI)

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