The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published a new patent application filed by Apple that details a method to capture and store images continuously from a device’s camera before a user presses the shutter button, and later select the best image based on certain criteria.
The problem with current method of shooting images from a camera, as Apple details in its application, are:
- Switching from the preview resolution you normally see on the display to the full resolution at which the image is shot generally takes sometime, and might introduce lag and frustrate the user.
- Pressing a hardware button or tapping the screen to shoot an image can make the shot blurry.
By shooting a series of images before the user presses the shutter button, the device can not only solve these annoyances, but also evaluate which is the best shot. The device can keep discarding the oldest images so as to keep a constant number in the image buffer.
The best image is chosen based on a weighted scoring system that takes into account a number of factors including exposure time, image contrast, resolution, focus and dynamic range. The device could also give the user the option of confirming the algorithmically chosen “best” image before discarding the others.
A number of companies already use very similar methods in their own camera implementations. BlackBerry 10 for instance shoots a bunch of images before and after you take an image, and let you shuffle between them to select the best one. Nokia employs a similar technique to detect the best facial expressions in an image.
It’s not clear if existing iOS hardware permits the addition of such a feature to the camera app, but as processors become faster, and RAM capacity increases, Apple would find it much easier to incorporate continuous full-resolution image buffering in iPhones and iPads.
Via: Apple Insider