Camera phones to de-throne the digital camera?

But will the cameraderie hold?


Mobile phone manufacturers are increasingly looking to integrate established technology from the digital camera industry, and an Irish company is at the forefront.

Digital imaging researchers at Galway-based Fotonation have not only developed a faster method for wirelessly sending image and audio files between mobile phones, they have also pioneered red-eye reduction technology for camera phones, as well as face detection software.

Fotonation's marketing vice president Eric Zarakov said mobile phone makers were playing catch up with the digital camera industry in terms of integrating existing and new technologies.

"With camera phones and their flashes becoming increasingly powerful the phone makers have realised they have to migrate functions such as red-eye reduction onto their phones," Zarakov told ENN. "The volumes are huge. Compare around 80 million or 90 million digital cameras sold in 2006 to 500 million camera phones."

The firm, which specialises in communications technology for the digital camera industry, claims its new MTP-IP connectivity solution (Media Transfer Protocol-Internet Protocol) is 10 times faster than existing Bluetooth technology, and can transfer a 3 megapixel mobile phone photo to another phone, computer, or other device in only 0.3 seconds.

Fotonation, which is headquartered in California and runs a 35-strong research team in Galway, has also come up with what it claims is the world's first face detection system for camera phones. Its Face Tracker software can detect a subject's face at up to 30 frames per second. This means the camera phone can set optimal exposure settings, focus, and colour balance for the faces of up to eight subjects in a shot. The software will also allow face cropping on the phone and thumbnail image generation for use in a phone's address book.

Fotonation's current client list includes AOL, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Microsoft, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Sanyo, and Sony.

Zarakov said the company is currently in negotiations with new and existing clients about integrating its technology into the next generation of mobile phones.

"Bringing digital camera technology into phones is a symptom of a wider move as phones increase their functionality. Camera phones are now beginning to displace low-end digital cameras. Just look at who is now the biggest camera manufacturer in the world: I'd say Nokia."

Copyright © 2007, ENN

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • It's primed and full of fuel, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to be packed up prior to launch

    Fingers crossed the telescope will finally take to space on 22 December

    Engineers have finished pumping the James Webb Space Telescope with fuel, and are now preparing to carefully place the folded instrument inside the top of a rocket, expected to blast off later this month.

    “Propellant tanks were filled separately with 79.5 [liters] of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser and 159 [liters of] hydrazine,” the European Space Agency confirmed on Monday. “Oxidiser improves the burn efficiency of the hydrazine fuel.” The fuelling process took ten days and finished on 3 December.

    All eyes are on the JWST as it enters the last leg of its journey to space; astronomers have been waiting for this moment since development for the world’s largest space telescope began in 1996.

    Continue reading
  • China to upgrade mainstream RISC-V chips every six months

    Home-baked silicon is the way forward

    China is gut punching Moore's Law and the roughly one-year cadence for major chip releases adopted by the Intel, AMD, Nvidia and others.

    The government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is developing open-source RISC-V performance processor, says it will release major design upgrades every six months. CAS is hoping that the accelerated release of chip designs will build up momentum and support for its open-source project.

    RISC-V is based on an open-source instruction architecture, and is royalty free, meaning companies can adopt designs without paying licensing fees.

    Continue reading
  • The SEC is investigating whistleblower claims that Tesla was reckless as its solar panels go up in smoke

    Tens of thousands of homeowners and hundreds of businesses were at risk, lawsuit claims

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Tesla failed to tell investors and customers about the fire risks of its faulty solar panels.

    Whistleblower and ex-employee, Steven Henkes, accused the company of flouting safety issues in a complaint with the SEC in 2019. He filed a freedom of information request to regulators and asked to see records relating to the case in September, earlier this year. An SEC official declined to hand over documents, and confirmed its probe into the company is still in progress.

    “We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing," a letter from the SEC said in a reply to Henkes’ request, according to Reuters. Active SEC complaints and investigations are typically confidential. “The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation,” a spokesperson from the regulatory agency told The Register.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021