Multi-point touch focus camera tech possibly for iPhone 5

We could still be a few months away yet from the launch of the next iPhone, even though there is some still hoping we will see it next month at WWDC, but we are still seeing new speculation about the handset on an almost daily basis. Today we have news of multi-point touch focus camera tech possibly for the iPhone 5 once it becomes available.

It is being reported by AppleInsider that Apple was recently awarded a patent for a multi-point focusing system that integrates with hardware that is capable of multitouch input. This could mean that the technology could find its way into the generation of iDevice. The patent describes a system that allows the user of a camera equipped device choose two or more areas of focus on a touchscreen, which as a picture is taken are passed through a dedicated image processor to produce optimal sharpness and exposure for both areas.

The patent also mentions that as the capabilities of an automated image capturing progresses, so do the “possibilities for capturing images not as desired by the photographer”. To get around this Apple is suggesting a solution that combines multitouch input with live preview imaging, and advanced auto focusing algorithms and tracking assets. This will need an image processor that will continuously keep track of the user defined “regions of interest” in a combination of live image processing and auto focus tech that is similar to what is found on the iPhone 4S.

This will be different than the current handset though as the focus won’t be restricted to centre weighting or face detection, and in practise should use the camera settings to get the highest possible clarity in a number of selected areas. The imaging processor will need to calculate two or more user defined areas and adjusts the camera focus to change the distance between the image sensor and the rear element of the lens.

The regions sizes will be able to be changed by pinching on the touchscreen that will alter how the imaging processor will change the image’s overall focus. Currently the Camera+ application allows users to spot-meter a live image, but Apple’s idea will take this further by adding multiple metering points.

To work the system will require a large amount of processing power, so the patent hints that a dedicated chip will be used to process the sensor data and control the cameras operation. The camera found on the iPhone 4S was a major leap forward with its reworked optics and backlit sensor among other features.

While it is not clear if Apple will implement the new technology into the iPhone 5, but considering the competition it now faces in the smartphone market you would have thought Apple will provide something that is innovative and different. Do you like the sound of this technology in a smartphone camera?

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