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Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:53

MIT researchers develop new image processing chip

Written by Peter Scott

farnsworth

HDR for the masses

A team of MIT researchers has come up with a new mobile image processing chip that could bring better photos and videos to smartphones.

The chip is specifically designed to tinker with lighting, enabling much faster HDR processing than SoCs. The dedicated chip is also said to be more power efficient than all round processors. Researchers claim their new baby can process HDR images in just hundreds of milliseconds, opposed to a few seconds.

Some chipmakers, like Nvidia, have already developed their own proprietary technology to speed up HDR processing on ARM based chips, but apparently they cannot beat MIT’s dedicated chip in terms of performance and efficiency.

Thanks to speedy image processing, MIT’s chip can also do HDR video, which sounds like a great idea since smartphone videos taken in low light tend to be horrible. There’s another benefit on the photography front. The chip should vastly improve lighting in dark scenes without the need for a flash. Since most smartphones feature weak LEDs with unnaturally high light temperatures, this sounds like a welcome addition indeed.

Rather than going for bigger sensors and more elaborate optics, smartphone makers are turning to cheaper and smaller solutions, such as innovative sensors and processing techniques. MIT’s technology could find its way into smartphones sooner or later, but we still don’t know when.

You can check out the geeky details here.

 

Peter Scott

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