The researchers at MIT (Microsystems Technology Laboratory) have created a powerful processing chip that can do everything from creating more realistic lighting , and can perform tasks such as creating more realistic effects within your shot in just a fraction of a second, without effecting the overall ambience of the image. Sure current smartphones have this kind of technology already, and many smartphones have advanced software that can improve images greatly, but at the expense of intensive CPU usage and of course your battery.
“We wanted to build a single chip that could perform multiple operations, consume significantly less power compared to doing the same job in software, and do it all in real time,” said Mr. Rithe of MIT.
HDR photography is often incredible in terms of visual results, but its often limited in its application to mobile devices and more compact cameras due to the heavy workload required to process such an image, not to mention the range of brightness and exposures that are required to composite a HDR image. HDR generally requires three images to be taken at different light levels, then combined to give a bold visual effect; this takes a few seconds to do for most smartphones with HDR capability.
Not only are MIT claiming their chip can do this for photographs using some hardware trickery, but that it will also be capable of doing the same level of processing with video and all within a a few hundred milliseconds, even on a 10MP image, which should provide some truly breathtaking results.
They already have a working prototype CMOS chip integrated into a camera and display. It will be interesting to see this technology in action and we expect that it’s going to be the next big thing in mobile photography.