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Kodak innovations for improved digital photos
Mark Peters : May 17th 2005 - 15:45 CET
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KodakKodak innovations for improved digital photos : People assume that digital image capture is exactly like capturing images on film. In reality, the magic that makes digital images look as good as they do was made possible by Kodak researchers early on when they solved some unique problems. Their solutions involved complex mathematical algorithms - instructions coded into your digital camera's processor - that Kodak researchers pioneered before today's easy-to-use digital cameras. Kodak researchers John F. Hamilton, Jr. and James E. Adams, Jr. recently earned the 2005 Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award from the Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association.
Kodak innovations for improved digital photosKodak Photographic Technology
With this annual award, the association's judging committee recognizes inventors who have contributed noteworthy inven-tions in their fields. Hamilton is a Research Fellow and a member of the Photographic Science & Technology Center in the Kodak Research Labs; Adams is a Senior Principal Scientist in the same organization.

Kodak inventions - “Bunny eyes”
Their inventions contributed significantly to Kodak's market-leading digital camera business. In part through their accomplishments, Kodak has become a leader in image quality for digital cameras and other digital photography products. Together, they created the algorithms that eliminated so-called "bunny eyes" or odd reflections in digital photos of people. The bunny eyes resulted from the lack of a presampling optical anti-aliasing filter within the cameras. This is not the same as "red-eye," where light bounces off the subject's retinas and is captured in the original data. The bunny eyes problem caused a subject's eyes to have unnaturally colored highlights (red or blue) when the light on their irises was interpreted incorrectly by the camera's image sensors.

Kodak technology - Noise-reduction
They also helped bring about automatic noise-reduction in digital pictures, resulting in fewer unwanted grainy areas. As digital cameras improved, the push for higher ISO ratings and rising customer expectations made noise suppression the next technological hurdle. As a result, noise-reduction algorithms were critical to maintaining leadership in digital image quality. John and Jim developed the now-patented algorithms that permit Kodak digital cameras to be on the cutting edge of this technology by reducing noise in noncritical areas (excluding the eyes, mouth, etc.) of an image. This would be analogous to bleaching grass stains out of clothes without harming the color of the clothes.

Kodak technology - Broad recognition
Bill J. Lloyd, Chief Technical Officer, Director of Research and Development, and a Kodak Senior Vice President, said, "When I reflect on Jim and John's accomplishments, I am convinced they are deserving of this prestigious award. They have achieved broad recognition in the worldwide digital photography technical community."

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