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What the future holds for smartphone cameras

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What the future holds for smartphone cameras

Speaking of the future of cameras we should not forget about the Nvidia Chimera, a computational platform on top of its Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i platforms. It is the first fully dedicated and open platform that allows the sensor, ISP, CPU, and GPU to all combine for real-time processing of captured images. Memory is shared and the GPU cores go into use. First devices with it are expected in late 2013-early 2014.

Chimera is a full-on computational photography engine and it’s most obvious benefit will be always-on live HDR. That will translate into a drastic leap towards better dynamic range in smartphone camera images, but it will also get us rid of glare often seen in bright shots on smartphones. Since all processing happens in the platform, the HDR capture is no longer too slow for moving objects, and the ghosting effect is significantly reduced.

What’s more, leveraging the whole computational power available, smartphone cameras will get features like real-time object tracking with “tap to track”, something previously reserved for only top of the line dedicated cameras.

“In another industry first, the Chimera architecture includes persistent tap-to-track technology, which allows users to touch the image of a person or object to focus on within a scene. The camera then locks in on that subject whether it moves or the camera is repositioned to a better angle, while maintaining proper focus. Persistent tap-to-track also adjusts the camera exposure depending on any movement, helping avoid under- or over-exposure of the image's subject or background.”

Tracking that kiddo in front of the camera would get much easier. Real-time object tracking would be also useful to sports and wild life photographers, of course.

Panoramas will happen much quicker with a simple swipe of the device in one direction, no need to move slowly the phone waiting for the processing to happen. HDR panoramas will also be possible.

The Chimera platform will work with Sony’s popular 13-megapixel Exmor RS sensor and Aptina’s 1/3" 8-megapixel sensor.

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