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MIT's 'Frankencameras' May Be Able to Peer Around Corners

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The visionaries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) never cease to amaze. MIT frequently produces innovative creations, and one of the university's research groups apparently hopes to revolutionize the field of digital photography. While digital-camera technology is already advancing at an astounding rate, the New York Times reports that MIT's Camera Culture department is currently developing software that could grant photographers with unprecedented powers.

This particular field of study (which involves developing manipulative camera technology, like high dynamic range) entails what's known as computational photography. The MIT computational crew has already constructed a portable 'Frankencamera' prototype that reportedly "runs on Linux, the open operating system." According to the Times, the device allows programmers to "play with the chips inside the camera that record and process images." Such devices could equip photographers with a range of impressive abilities, like seamlessly meshing two photographs, changing an already captured image's focus or finding the exact vantage point of a previous picture.

Camera Culture's primary focus, though, rests on a particularly astounding experimental camera -- one that conceivably sees around corners. The lens-less camera, which relies on reflected light, employs lasers and computer processing to "look around objects to see what's beyond." On a basic level, the technology works similarly to the Xbox Kinect motion control system, as the camera's laser bounces around an area in order to gather data.

University of Washington professor Steven Seitz apparently recognizes the camera's exciting potential, but he also warns of potential dangers, because the potent lasers could lead to "safety issues." But, if an amateur photographer "accidentally" blasts someone into oblivion, police -- by that time, at least -- should have their own hi-tech "blood cameras" in order to analyze the annihilation.

Tags: computational photography, ComputationalPhotography, hdr, massachusetts institute of technology, MassachusettsInstituteOfTechnology, mit, mit camera culture, MitCameraCulture, top