Modulo Camera Will Never Overexpose An Image

MIT has developed a camera that won't overexpose an image called the Modulo.

19/08/2015 - 13:39

MIT Modulo Camera

Researchers at MIT have developed a camera that won't ever overexpose an image. 

Called the Modulo camera, the technology will not overexpose a photo, enabling high dynamic range photography. 

HDR technology is nothing new. It basically involves the camera taking multiple images at the same time using different exposures, so you get detail in both the highlights and shadows of the image and an overall balanced result. Conventional cameras use multiple normal images to create one final HDR image. But this means if the camera is shaking or the image is of something that moves, the technique won't work. 

The Modulo Camera, created in collaboration between Media Lab's Camera Culture group, MIT Lincoln Lab and Singapore University of Technology and Design, only needs one shot to create HDR images. This opens the door to HDR video. 

It's able to reset sensor capacitors whenever they get full of light, i.e oversaturated, using a special algorithm to calculate how much light is needed for good exposure. For example, if a camera sensor can record 8 bits of information, then when the 8 bits get full  the capacitor resets to zero. The number of resets is recovered by the algorithm, which is then able to calculate the relative brightness in each area of the photo. 

This new technology could mean that photographers no longer have to manually expose images in the future. It could change the way everyday photography works, MIT say. 

There are also a long list of possible real-world applications, including robot vision, in technology such as driverless cars where the robot being able to visualise clearly all the time is crucial. 

This isn't the first time MIT has introduced something revolutionary to photography. Earlier in the year they announced an algorithm that can get rid of reflections in images taken through windows. 

For a more detailed and technical explanation of the technology, have a look at the research paper. There is also a video explaining the technology, which can be viewed above. 

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