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FotoNation to beat red-eye - in the camera, when and where it happens

FotoNation to beat red-eye - in the camera, when and where it happens - Automatic built-in camera red-eye detection and correction technology.

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Red-eye has long been the scourge of film - and now digital - cameras which use built-in flash. The problem occurs when the flash is close to the camera's lens axis and the eyes are open wide in relatively low ambient light. The flash is reflected back along the lens axis from inside the eye. The eyes then take on a devilish red colour, which renders the shot useless.

"Red-eye is a common problem in consumers' photos," says Michelle Slaughter, Director of Digital Photography Trends at InfoTrends Research Group. "75% of digital camera users that use photo software remove red-eye from their digital photos. By removing red-eye during the image acquisition process, consumers can spend less time fixing their photos and more time on the activities that they ultimately want to do with their photos, including sharing, printing and creative projects. The on-board red-eye removal function will improve consumers' experience and satisfaction with capturing photos."

FotoNation solves the problem with its automatic red-eye detection and correction technology, which is already included in several major high-volume applications for use on PCs, servers, kiosks, and now as an embedded version in the firmware inside digital cameras and printers. The technology is covered by several of FotoNation patents issued and pending, including US Patent No. 6,407,777, entitled "Red Eye Filter Method and Apparatus," which is directed to red-eye removal in digital cameras.

The first cameras to employ this revolutionary software are two new models from Nikon, announced at PMA 2004 Las Vegas on February 5, 2004: the Nikon COOLPIX 5200 and Nikon COOLPIX 4200. "The in camera red-eye reduction technology previously used is not able to remove the red-eye; it can only minimize its appearance. Now, with the newly developed technology, removal of red eye in the camera is an important next-step toward better and more fulfilling photography for consumers, and in particular for achieving the best results when using the newly evolving technology that enables printing directly from camera to printer," said Kazuyuki Kazami, General Manager of world wide marketing at Nikon Corporation "We are delighted to integrate FotoNation's solution into our latest COOLPIX line up".

Said Eran Steinberg, CEO of FotoNation Inc., "Without realising it, users of these cameras will be harnessing years of research and development in image analysis and processing technology to fix red-eye right when and where it happens - in the camera itself.". The process is completely transparent to the user and automatic in operation. All the user has to do is set the camera to the red-eye reduction mode. FotoNation's technology then springs into action behind the scenes, eliminating red-eye at source and raising customer satisfaction and enjoyment of picture making and sharing to new heights.

FotoNation's powerful recognition software not only detects red eye in images, but can also avoid false detections of potentially deceptive 'red herrings' such as polka dots and Christmas tree lights - all from within a small memory footprint optimised for near-real time processing. The technology is sufficiently optimised to run inside digital cameras, printers and other devices with relatively low on-board processing power.

The code has been ported and tested on numerous embedded operating systems, including Windows-CE, embedded Linux, i-Tron and numerous proprietary systems based on Arm-7, Arm-9, x86 etc devices.

The technology is currently offered by FotoNation for licensing to image appliance companies such as manufacturers of cameras, printers, hand-held devices, etc, throughout the world.

About FotoNation
FotoNation www.fotonation.com is a research and development company with a strong technical and intellectual property foundation, dedicated to providing imaging and connectivity solutions for the digital photography industry. The company has offices in San Francisco, CA, Galway, Ireland and Bucharest, Romania.

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