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February 15, 2007 – We’ve seen face detection and red-eye correction built into digital cameras, and now, we could soon see these photo corrective functions in mobile phones. Software developer FotoNation announced this week the world’s first face detection and red-eye correction for camera phones. Consumers could expect to see this camera phone technology on the market within the year, said FotoNation Vice President of Marketing Eric Zarakov in an interview with DigitalCameraInfo.com.
"It’s a way to get better pictures," said Zarakov, "without having to do anything special."
FotoNation’s Face Tracker can detect up to 8 faces in a scene, setting proper exposure, focus, and color balance. FotoNation debuted camera phone software with Face Tracker at the 2006 Mobile Imaging Summit in October. The demo camera phone was capable of automatic image orientation that rotates images correctly, face cropping functions, and face thumbnail generation to be used with a phone contacts list.
Select camera manufacturers include face detection in their products, including Pentax’s Face Priority that uses FotoNation’s software. With Face Tracker, camera phone manufacturers could begin to implement the same facial recognition technology into cell phones.
As a response to developing camera phones with flash devices such as the Motorola Q, FotoNation developed built-in mobile Red-Eye Correction Technology to compensate. FotoNation currently licenses their red-eye correction technology to camera manufacturers Kodak, Nikon, Pentax, and Samsung. The embedded red-eye reduction could eliminate post-capture editing like red-eye removal for users.
"This is a new level of picture-taking with camera phones," said Zarakov.
With 80 million camera phones purchased last year and 100 million estimated for this year, mobile phones with built-in cameras are on the rise.
FotoNation will display new camera phone models with the FotoNation camera phone software at PMA 2007 next month, although the company could not release details.