Not satisfied with the pictures you get with your 35-mm camera? Now there is a software program that lets you fix the pictures that don't capture all the visual quality and color intensity that your eyes see. The software is based on Retinax Image Processing—technology originally developed for remote sensing of the Earth by researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center and at Science and Technology Corp. "Current technology like that found in Adobe's PhotoShop software makes adjustments in gain, contrast, and other variables," says Glenn Woodell, an engineering technician and co-inventor of image processing software. "The difference with ours is that we not only look at the pixel, we also look at pixels around a given pixel." Woodell also says that colors are context dependent. "A given color, say green, surrounded by blue will look different than that same green when it is surrounded by red," he says. The software automatically makes corrections, but also allows manipulation of the image by the end user. The inventors—Woodell, Dan Jobson, and Zia ur Rahman—believe that existing image enhancement tools are either too tedious or insufficiently powerful compared to theirs. The software is currently licensed to TruView Imaging Co. "We think there are applications for the software in medical imaging, forensics, security, recognizance, mining, assembly, and many other industrial applications," says Rahman, who works for TruView. The company will make a software product available for home, professional, and industrial use by the end of the year. For more information, call (757) 221-3479 or go to www.dragon.larc.nasa.gov/retinex.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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