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Dust removal technology demonstration

Mark Peters
Photokina report
Sunday 24th, September 2006
Posted by: Mark Peters

FotoNation, one of the world’s leading embedded imaging and connectivity companies, announced today that it will demonstrate its new patented FotoNation Dust Removal Technology at Photokina 2006, held in Cologne, Germany from September 26 - October 1st, 2006. The FotoNation Dust Removal and detection Technology completely and automatically removes dust from digital images. FotoNation has been awarded a United States patent for this technology and has 10 additional patents pending in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. FotoNation eliminates dust from images using in-camera software which distinguishes between dust and real detail in the photo.

Dust removal technology

Dust detection removal technology
The software dynamically builds a map of every dust-spec and then tracks changes and movement of the dust particles to distinguish dust from the details of the photograph. The technology has been designed to scale across multiple platforms is optimized to run as embedded software in digital cameras and mobile phone cameras as part of image acquisition.

Digital SLR cameras - Dust problem
Dust is a major problem with digital cameras and mobile phones. In Digital SLR cameras, dust is caused by a variety of factors including changing lenses and the electrostatic nature of digital cameras. Dust particles will typically remain on the sensor unless physically removed by a technician. Alternatively, photographers remove dust artifacts from their images by manually retouching each image in software on a computer - a very time-consuming activity. FotoNation solves this problem by automatically removing dust blemishes from photos in-camera, so no tedious software retouching is necessary.

Production of camera modules for mobile phones
Dust is also a significant problem in the production of camera modules for mobile phones. Mobile phone camera modules typically consist of an image sensor hermetically sealed inside a plastic package with a lens and image processor. Dust contamination on the image sensor during assembly of the camera module is a costly source of reduced manufacturing yield. The FotoNation Dust Removal Technology can increase manufacturing yield and image quality for these products.

Built-in Mapping Intelligence and Optical Characterization
For DSLR implementations, FotoNation is able to accurately eliminate dust artifacts by tracking incremental changes to the dust map as well as integrating sophisticated optical lens modeling. The optical modeling accounts for how the appearance of dust specs on the sensor change based on lens’ focal length, aperture and exit pupil. In addition, the software has built-in intelligence to determine when the situation calls for user intervention

Patent protected dust removal algorithm
“FotoNation’s highly innovative, automated, and patent protected dust removal algorithm was designed with the professional photographer’s needs in mind, eliminating the hind-sight case whereby the time the photographer realizes there is a problem, it is too late to fix,” said Eran Steinberg, CEO, FotoNation.

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