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*Las Vegas, Nevada, March 7, 2007 *– Digital camera users might recognize the name FotoNation for their face detection and red-eye reduction technology used in a long list of manufacturers including Kodak, Pentax, Samsung, and Sanyo products. At PMA this week, FotoNation is demonstrating the face detection and red-eye correction that consumers could soon use, not just in their digital cameras, but in their cell phones.
"Most photos have people in them," said FotoNation Vice President of Marketing Eric Zarakov in an interview with DigitalCameraInfo.com at PMA Sneak Peek today. With increasing number of portrait photos, manufacturers are continuing to find ways to allow users to take the best pictures, said Zarakov.
FotoNation's Face Tracker can detect up to nine faces in a given scene, although more faces could be detected, according to FotoNation representatives. Once detected, a cell phone enabled with FotoNation’s software would automatically focus and expose the faces, highlighted by a rectangle box.
Traditionally, face detection is engaged when a camera can detect two eyes, a nose, and a mouth for a front portrait. FotoNation’s new technology, however, can detect profile shots. Unlike current face detection technology already available, FotoNation’s face detection recognizes people by lighting conditions and skin tone that would allow camera phone users to focus and expose correctly on people’s faces, even from side views. When asked if FotoNation’s technology could account for skin tones from African American to Caucasian tones, FotoNation CEO Eran Steinberg assured us that the face detection could detect faces of all skin colors.
In addition to face detection, users could see red-eye correction incorporated onto mobile devices. One of the top ten complaints that users have with their photos is red-eye, said Steinberg. The FotoNation CEO anticipates that more cell phone manufacturers will include flashes with stronger strobes, which in turn, would lead to more photos with red-eye. In response, FotoNation’s software could correct camera photo red-eye during or post-capture, without delay in capture, said Steinberg.
How quickly could consumers see the face detection and red-eye correction realized in their camera phones? The CEO said that really depends on when the mobile manufacturers decide to incorporate the FotoNation technology.
Although FotoNation could not give details on possible partners, the representatives demonstrated the technology using a Nokia camera phone. The FotoNation face recognition and red-eye correction could be implemented onto any cell phone, according to Steinberg.
"Cell phones have strong processors and higher quality now," said Steinberg. "We will see more digital camera tools in cell phones. It’s a natural progression," he said.