Most of the post-processing done by a camera is handled by software that MIT researchers believe could be a lot smarter, faster and user-friendly. So they're developing a single chip that can handle these operations with remarkable efficiency.
High Dynamic Range imagery, where the camera snaps multiple images to generate a final photo with perfect exposure, usually takes a while for a smartphone to process. But MIT's new chip can generate a ten-megapixel HDR image in just a few hundred milliseconds -- almost instantly as far as the photographer's concerned.
It's also got another neat trick up its sleeve for improving photos in low-light conditions. Images snapped with a flash are usually blown-out and ugly, but the chip would actually snap two versions -- with and without a flash -- and combine them into a single perfect image that ensures everything is properly lit. The chip could even instantly deal with issues like noise in a high-ISO image, and it's almost like having Photoshop built right into your camera -- minus the years of practice needed to figure out how to use it. [MIT via Engadget]