Apple has applied for a patent on a technology which uses the orientation sensors on a mobile device to correct common photo issues. The technology uses gyroscopes, accelerometers, and compasses to calculate the device’s orientation, and then applies this data to correct for problems like tilt to make photos appear more balanced.
The technology also corrects for a common distortion that occurs when the camera isn’t held vertically. This typically happens when you angle a shot up at a building, for example, and the parallel lines appear to converge. The technology allows for photos to be corrected after they are taken or as they are being taken. It’s a new take on digital camera software which counteracts camera shake and optical lens shortcomings. A startup called Lytrol is also working on light-field technology that lets you focus shots after they’re taken to correct focusing errors.
As the competition in the smartphone market continues to heat up, Apple is hoping the new patent will provide it with an edge. The technology would allow users to worry less about getting every detail of a photo perfectly aligned. Of course, there are users who will want intentionally include perspective and tilt distortion for artistic effect in their photos, and according to the patent, the technology will not interfere with this.
It will be able to distinguish between intentional camera tilts and accidental errors. The technology, which is sure to improve all those drunk vacation shots, should function automatically without requiring the user to do anything special to make it work. Several illustrations that were included with the patent application make it clear how slight adjustments in tilt and perspective can greatly improve photo quality.