NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) Wants to Power Your Camera, Too

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Thanks to NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)‘s press release Tuesday, in which it announced its first fully integrated 4G LTE mobile processor, the investing world is abuzz with renewed excitement for the company’s prospects in the fast-growing smartphone market — and rightly so.

As I noted at the time of the announcement, Stuart Robinson at Strategy Analytics wasted no time voicing his approval, saying, “On paper at least, the Tegra 4i out-performs QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)‘s latest industry-leading chips in most apps processor measurements but, most importantly for NVIDIA, it also benefits from an integrated ‘soft-modem’ that can be reprogrammed over-the-air to support new frequencies and new air interfaces; something that most other modem vendors can currently only dream of.”

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)Even still, while Qualcomm management can’t be particularly pleased with the news, it’s a safe bet that NVIDIA will be fighting an uphill battle with its well-established competitor.

Capturing the world of photography
However, buried in the Tegra 4i news was another juicy nugget from NVIDIA. Just minutes before its Tegra 4i press release, the graphics specialist announced what it calls the “world’s first mobile computational photography architecture.”

Dubbed “Chimera,” the architecture was technically unveiled more than a month ago at CES along with the initial announcement of NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 processor. At the time, the company showcased Chimera’s ability to maintain always-on HDR photos and videos to allow users to “instantly capture high-quality HDR images similar to how the human eye sees the world.” For instance, our eyes are able to focus on both well-lit and shaded areas at the same time, which is a notoriously difficult task for traditional camera lenses. Apparently, Chimera goes a long way toward bridging this gap.

With this in mind, Tuesday’s announcement gave algorithmic imagery nerds like myself even more to digest. Now, Chimera also incorporates new HDR panoramic functionality, allowing users to take wide-angle shots by capturing “a scene while the camera moves — from side to side, up and down or diagonally — effectively “painting” a panorama in real time from many angles and in any order the user wants.”

In addition, Chimera now boasts “persistent tap-to-track technology,” letting users touch the image of any object to set it as a static focal point for the resulting image. Translation? Whether you have to reposition the camera or little Jimmy just won’t stop wiggling, NVIDIA’s Chimera will make sure the picture stays in focus with its exposure intact.

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