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Firmware Hack Allows Video Analysis On a Canon Camera 115

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of Liege in Belgium have been able to perform real-time video analysis on a regular Canon digicam (video link) without any hardware modification. The results are shown directly on the digicam's screen. They use a hacked version of a popular open-source alternative firmware for Canon cameras: CHDK. This is a proof-of-concept that computer vision algorithms can now be embedded on regular Canon digicams with little effort (CHDK is coded in C). What other popular vision algorithms could be implemented? For what purpose?" You can get some idea about ViBe from this abstract at IEEE; basically, it allows background extraction in moving images.
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Firmware Hack Allows Video Analysis On a Canon Camera

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  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:26PM (#31513690)

    What I find interesting about this is ... that consumer digicams would have enough general purpose punch to run anything much more than trivial scripts

    Check the feature list of typical modern "consumer"-ish digital cams. Marketing has decided that the average moron needs to be able to filter pics to look like a faded photograph, or put the picture inside an ornate picture frame, or cover up parts of the image with heart and caption overlays like those stupid "reality-TV" dating shows. The enormous resources required for stupid marketing tricks can be re-purposed to do much more interesting things... Which probably pisses off the marketing guys. Which I like.

    To a first approximation, the computing power required to store a pic is not much worse than the viewfinder display. And they don't seem to care about updating the video viewfinder continuously. So, it can't be too horrible of a computational task.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:36PM (#31513842)

    Meh, the video demonstrates simple motion detection, which is no surprise considering that these cameras do face and smile detection all the time.

    I was hoping for more, something along the lines of object recognition, artificial horizon, being able to see a road...

  • Re: CHDK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xxdinkxx ( 560434 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:41PM (#31513908) Homepage
    http://orbi.ulg.ac.be/bitstream/2268/12087/1/Barnich2009ViBe.pdf [ulg.ac.be] There is the paper in question. I despise the fact that I still have to pay for papers in IEEE silos when I am in fact a member.
    Yeah I could upgrade my subscription, but bah.

    information should be free
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:43PM (#31513946)
    The most computationally demanding onboard processing I've noticed (aside from video encoding, which surely uses a dedicated chip) is recognizing multiple faces in real-time, or tracking a moving object, to maintain focus. Far from the gimmicks you mention, these are very useful functions that just happen to require what amounts to video processing.
  • Re:Fun idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:44PM (#31513962)

    If you need an algorithm to identify which girls are attractive, then you don't need an attractive girl.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:53PM (#31514086)
    Right, the new word for "digital camera" is "camera." If you mention to a friend that your camera battery is dead, would they still ask whether you can advance the film manually? No. The vast majority of cameras made, sold, and used today are digital cameras, so that is what the word has come to mean.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.