Aug 12

Light Field Powered: First Smartphones with Holographic Displays Could Arrive within Two Years

Ostendo's Quantum Photonic Imager Chips produce real 3D images with depth (top: resulting image with diffuser, bottom: actual QPI array; Youtube Screenshot via InsightMediaTV1) Just a few years ago, mobile displays took a leap forward with increased pixel densities that ensure crisp images on realtively small screens. Today, most smartphones feature displays with up to 538 pixels per inch (ppi) – a resolution that is much higher than what the human eye can see. So what’s the next display innovation we can look forward to?
In her recent article on IEEE Spectrum, Sarah Lewin introduced two companies that are working on making what she calls “holographic” light field displays (i.e. glasses-free 3D displays) a reality.

Ostendo Technologies recently presented the results of nine years’ work at the Display Week conference: An array of 4×2 Quantum Photonic Imager chips (each consisting of LEDs, image processors and embedded rendering software) plus microlens array form a 1 megapixel (1024x768px, XGA resolution) prototype display which sends out light not into every direction – like conventional displays do – but rather into very narrow, collimated angles of light. This enables the prototype to emit different images into different directions, producing about 2,500 different perspective views, so the image and motion displayed appear consistent regardless of the viewer’s position. Continue reading

Apr 20

Lens Blur: Google Camera App for Android gets Refocus and Adjustable Depth of Field

Lens Blur: Google Camera App for Android gets Refocus and Adjustable Depth of Field (picture: Android Police) Light field technology is gaining momentum in the mainstream, but we have yet to see the first smartphone featuring a Pelican Array Camera, Tesseract/Focii module, or something similar.
Meanwhile, more and more developers are using advanced software in conjunction with traditional camera modules to recreate one of the most popular features of the light field: software refocus.

The latest addition to the growing list of companies/developers recreating the refocus effect on mobile devices is none other than the mother of Android: Google. Introducing “Lens Blur”, the company has included their own version of software refocus into its all-new Google Camera app (free). Continue reading

Apr 01

HTC One M8: the World’s First Dual Camera Smartphone with Dedicated Depth Sensor?

HTC One M8: the World's First Dual Camera Smartphone? (picture: HTC) Last week, HTC unveiled the much anticipated, new HTC One M8, which immediately started selling in the UK, and will roll out across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, on April 4.

As rumoured, the new Android smartphone features a dual camera system (dubbed “Duo Camera”), where the additional camera is a dedicated depth sensor. To our knowledge, it’s the first time this technology has made it into a commercially available smartphone. The recorded depth information is used to bring a range of new camera features to HTC’s new flagship smartphone:

  • UFocus: Tap to refocus
  • Foregrounder: Apply filters (Pencil Sketch, Zoom Blur, Cartoon, Black&White) to the background.
  • Dimension Plus: Tilt your phone to change the perspective/distortion
  • Seasons: Add foreground-background-aware animations (falling rose petals, floating dandelion seeds, maple leaves, or snow)

Continue reading

Mar 25

Tesseract: Light Field Photography, Automated Subject Extraction and 3D Filters for your Smartphone

Tesseract Logo Remember Focii? The innovative light field capture method, developed by Kshitij Marwah at MIT Media Lab, allows users to convert ordinary cameras into light field cameras just by placing a coded mask film on top of the image sensor. Marwah has successfully ported Focii to a smartphone, and recently launched Tesseract Imaging to make the technology commercially available.
In a recent presentation at INKtalk, Kshitij Marwah presented the new product, and demonstrated three features on his modified Android smartphone (details below), live on stage: Continue reading

Mar 14

HTC One M8 to feature Dual Camera for Software Refocus

HTC One M8 to feature Dual Camera for Software Refocus (picture: GSMArena) It looks like 2014 is becoming the year of mobile software refocus: Toshiba has reportedly already shipped first samples of their Dual Camera module to manufacturers, and Pelican Imaging is making more and more public appearances. On major mobile platforms, several apps already recreate Lytro’s refocus effect with traditional cameras, including some manufacturer-made ones, e.g. in Nokia’s Lumia Phones, Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Sony’s Experia Z2, the LG G Pro 2, and the Meizu MX3.

Now, HTC reportedly jumps on the refocus bandwagon with their upcoming smartphone codenamed M8: According to the below snapshot of a purportedly upcoming flyer for Australian mobile provider Telstra, the “All New HTC One” will feature a “Duo Camera” that allows users to “choose where to focus”, which sounds a lot like Lytro-style software refocus. Continue reading