A scientist from the University of Texas has developed a new autofocus system which has the potential to revolutionise camera technology.

Based on how the human eye focuses on objects, the system could speed up autofocusing and make it more accurate. Johannes Burge, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas worked with his adviser Wilson Geisler to greater understand how the human eye is able to more efficiently focus than a digital camera.

At the moment, autofocus mechanisms can be split into two categories. The first uses contrast levels to determine how in or out of focus an image is. This type of system is used on compact and compact system cameras cameras, while higher-end cameras (those with reflex mirrors) use phase detection. Though the second type is faster, it also requires a larger body to work.

Tiny tech

However, the new system developed by Burge and Geisler could apparently be incorporated into small compact cameras. It works by looking at the features of the scene to determine distance from an object. The system was created via a computer simulation of the human visual system.

Although the camera hasn't been tested in any actual cameras yet, Burge believes that it could have applications in other areas of technology and science as well, and the duo are applying for a patent to protect their invention. They have apparently also had interest from a major electronic imaging company.

It is thought that should the technology be introduced into real world cameras, it would mean that a digital camera could focus accurately in around 10 milliseconds.

via The Guardian