The camera on your mobile phone might be about to see the next major upgrade to its software and image processing capabilities. Tessera Technologies has demonstrated several intelligent scene analysis technologies aimed at simplifying the process of taking quality pictures from your mobile phone. FotoNation is designed to improve image quality of the camera on the software side, while still keeping mobile picture taking fast and easy.

With the lofty aim of "bringing digital still camera features and image quality to mobile phones”, the FotoNation technologies automatically identify an image’s main features and enable the camera to select a scene mode. Based on the information it has gathered, the camera performs necessary adjustments prior to capturing the images, without the need for user input. This means that the user can take a picture with the scene settings automatically adjusted without having to think and adjust things manually.

The system is also designed to identify the standard picture settings, such as object and camera motion, back lighting, night scenes, portraits and landscapes. The camera can then automatically adjust the focus, exposure, aperture and color balance to optimize the image and achieving the best possible result for the tiny cameras. The collective results of this feedback intelligently control and improve image quality.

The third element of the software is its ability to detect and remove red-eye from human faces. This, along with a "SmileCheck" extension module that ensures the camera shutter is triggered only when one or more faces are smiling and a BlinkCheck module, which warns the user when the subjects eyes are closed, is designed to provide automatic assistance when photographing people.

To showcase the system, Tessera Technologies is presenting the industry's first demonstration of a wireless, miniature camera with embedded face tracking at PMA. The "smart" camera module integrates the company's FotoNation technologies, distortion correction algorithms, SHELLCASE MVP image sensor packaging and OptiML single-element lens.

Stephen Saunders

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