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Future iPhones Could Capture 'Super-Resolution' Photos Using Optical Image Stabilization

Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple patent application number 20140125825 that describes a method of producing super-resolution images using optical image stabilization (OIS) and burst-mode photos (via AppleInsider). This may allow future models of the iPhone to generate images that exceed the megapixel resolution limits of the camera hardware.

ois-patent-super-resolution
The invention uses a camera with an optical image stabilization module that can take multiple images with each subsequent capture offset by a small amount. These lower resolution images are then intelligently stitched together by a dedicated image processor to create a resulting high-resolution photograph.
A system and method for creating a super-resolution image using an image capturing device. In one embodiment, an electronic image sensor captures a reference optical sample through an optical path. Thereafter, an optical image stabilization (OIS) processor to adjusts the optical path to the electronic image sensor by a known amount. A second optical sample is then captured along the adjusted optical path, such that the second optical sample is offset from the first optical sample by no more than a sub-pixel offset. The OIS processor may reiterate this process to capture a plurality of optical samples at a plurality of offsets. The optical samples may be combined to create a super-resolution image.
Image stabilization allows for sharper photos and videos by utilizing motion tracking and other technology to remove the effects of device shakiness during capture. Apple currently offers software-based image stabilization in which the device takes four photos in quick succession and the combines them to reduce blurring., but the company has been rumored to be looking to improve this system. While OIS would embed the technology directly into the camera hardware, improved electronic image stabilization would allow for the iPhone to have a slimmer camera that does not protrude outside the device.

Rumors from earlier this year suggested Apple could incorporate Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology into its upcoming iPhone 6, possibly contracting with InvenSense to supply the necessary hardware. The company's work on the technology has also surfaced in other patent filings, leveraging the expertise of Richard Topliss an engineer recruited from Cambridge Mechatronics in early 2012. The most recent rumor from ESM China analyst Sun Chang Xu claims, however, that Apple may equip the iPhone 6 camera with an improved sensor module and an electronic image stabilization system.

Top Rated Comments

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11 weeks ago

Sorry, but you can only get so good without a big lens.

That's why I'll keep my Nikon D3.


People use to say that with car engines but some of todays 4cyl are faster than yesteryears 6cyl.

Truth: D3 will crush phone cameras for a while but who carries a D3 or any (d)SLR with them 24/7? The best camera one has is the camera they take with them. A camera phone isn't meant to replace a (d)SLR so silly comment. No need to be a camera snob.
Rating: 15 Votes
11 weeks ago
winner

Samsung will reverse engineer as soon as available.
Rating: 14 Votes
11 weeks ago


That's why I'll keep my Nikon D3.

Really? How many bars of reception does your D3 get?
Rating: 13 Votes
11 weeks ago
Rating: 12 Votes
11 weeks ago

NOTHING.. but the PR chaps will just put a new spin on it and the ifans will lap it up..

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It's not copying , its "done right!"...


LOL. So if someone copies Apple, it's a blatant ripoff. If Apple copies someone else, it's 'done right'. Good logic.
Rating: 10 Votes
11 weeks ago
Sorry, but you can only get so good without a big lens.

That's why I'll keep my Nikon D3.
Rating: 8 Votes
11 weeks ago

People use to say that with car engines but some of todays 4cyl are faster than yesteryears 6cyl.

Truth: D3 will crush phone cameras for a while but who carries a D3 or any (d)SLR with them 24/7? The best camera one has is the camera they take with them. A camera phone isn't meant to replace a (d)SLR so silly comment. No need to be a camera snob.


But today's performance 6 cylinders are faster than today's 4 cylinders. My guess is DSLR technology will continue to advance too.
Rating: 7 Votes
11 weeks ago
"My Olympus had this way back in..."

3... 2... 1...
Rating: 6 Votes
11 weeks ago

Which make diddly squat difference in a patent. Everything thing here is stuff that some cameras have had for a long while prior 2012 ( when this was filed).


so youre claiming this is not a new invention, but is instead something older cameras had prior to 2012? keep in mind this is not merely OIS, but is composite photo-stitching done in real-time on a puny cellphone sensor & camera.

please link us to specific cameras that had this exact feature (componsite photo-stitching using OIS and onboard processor).

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What makes Apples tech different than what's already implemented in Nokia and Sony phones? This sounds exactly like what they do.


composite photo-stiching to form a larger source image using OIS and onboard processors? im not familar w/ Nokia or Sony phones, can you link us to the product pages for these phones where it defines this?

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I guess Apple has invented photography. Good job.


where does the patent application claim that? or are you just being obtuse, because...well, just because.
Rating: 6 Votes
11 weeks ago

"My Olympus had this way back in..."

3... 2... 1...


Unlikely. Your Olympus has most likely superior optical components. The iPhone most definitely has a vastly superior processor, both CPU and GPU. Anything using data from multiple shots will need tons of processing power.
Rating: 6 Votes

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