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Panorama Multi-Image Stitching: Clever Software Simplifies And Optimizes Capturing

Earlier this month, BDTI senior software engineer Eric Gregori and I delivered a technology trends presentation on embedded vision in mobile electronics devices at the Embedded Vision Alliance Member Summit, the video of which is currently being edited and I hope to publish soon here on the site. One of the key application areas that we discussed in depth is computational photography, which Wikipedia defines as:

Computational image capture, processing, and manipulation techniques that enhance or extend the capabilities of digital photography, typically through the use of multiple pictures of the same subject matter, such, as, for example, by using differently exposed pictures of the same scene to extend dynamic range beyond even that of analog film-based media. Other examples of computational photography include processing and merging differently illuminated images of the same subject matter ("lightspace") and differently focused pictures of the same subject matter.

Multiple images can also be combined to create a larger (wider and/or taller) view of a scene than a single image capture would otherwise allow. So-called "panorama" mode is a subject that I've discussed in several past writeups; a month ago, for example, or in more depth back in mid-May. Results are dependent not only on the robustness of the "stitching" algorithms but also on the characteristics of the source images; unevenly or excessively space them, and quality will suffer.

That's where a newly introduced $0.99 app called Cycloramic comes in. Optimized for the iPhone 5, although it reportedly also works to some degree with the older iPhone 4 and 4S, the program uses the smartphone's vibrational motor (or alternative) to automatically rotate the phone after you balance it upright on a flat surface (as the above video demonstrates). Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is supposedly even a fan of the software. Can't beat an endorsement like that, right?

Human ingenuity in technology comes in many implementations. Some are sizeable; take, for example, Moore's Law. Others are more diminutive and likely won't stand the test of time to even a fraction of the same degree. But when they neatly address a market need, they're notable (at least to me) nonetheless. Kudos to Cycloramic's developer for cleverness!

For more information on Cycloramic, check out the following additional coverage: