The Invisible Flash

by Mark R

nyu_invisibleflash_cameraI’m sure there are many who can’t stand taking pictures with Flash. I mean, not only do they create too much reflections, but then there is that horrid red-eye effect. The worst case scenario is taking a picture at the aquarium. I mean, you think you got a great shot of the kids by the fish tank, but the picture ends up with a giant white spot. So instead of the kids staring in awe at a cute seal cub, you get a shot of kids looking at a will-o-the-wisp.

Fortunately, some NYU researchers are working on an Invisible Flash. I realize that sounds like a song by Genesis, but it is actually could “reach out, and grab right hold of your heart”. (That’s a reference to the Genesis song “Invisible Touch”, by the way.)

The Invisible Flash works by taking a picture with IR and UV light to produce a black-and-white image. Then another picture is taken with ambient lighting, and both images are then combined with special software.

The best part of this technology is that it doesn’t require any special equipment to make invisible flashes work. Still, taking two pictures instead of one and then combining them could create quite a lot of blur.

Well, the Invisible Flash isn’t selling right now, but it will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2009 in August.


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