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Feb 20, 2013

NVIDIA Chimera, New Technology for Photography

With all the hubbub raised by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan graphics card and the Tegra 4i, the Chimera technology didn't get much attention yesterday (February 19, 2013), but there wasn't much chance of the world glossing over it.

Chimera is a rather odd case as far as NVIDIA's technology portfolio is concerned. While the company normally deals in processors, Chimera is a Computational Photography Architecture. Basically, it gives Tegra 4-based devices the ability to edit pictures and videos in ways that was not possible before, not without special equipment. For example, tablets and smartphones based on the platform are now able to take wide-angle or “fish-eye” shots, even though, normally, this would need an expensive digital single-lens reflex camera. A scene can be captured by moving the camera up and down, or to the side, diagonally even. The panorama is essentially painted in real time, from many angles and in any order. A great advantage over other wide-angle shots that take up to 35 seconds and need to be moved in one direction horizontally.

Another thing that Chimera allows for is the capture of high-quality, HDR images similar to how the human eye sees the world: from various places and lighting conditions. Then there is the persistent tap-to-track technology, which lets users touch an image of a person or object and focus on it within a scene. The camera then locks on that subject and maintains proper focus on it, even if the camera is repositioned or angled. Underexposure and overexposure of the image subject or the background are avoided as well. Both Tegra 4 (tablet platform) and the Tegra 4i smartphone chip (which has only now been launched) possess Chimera Computational Photography Architecture.

“NVIDIA’s Chimera architecture takes mobile imaging far beyond what consumers have come to expect from the phones and tablets,” said Brian Cabral, vice president of Computation Imaging at NVIDIA.  “Capabilities that until now have been reserved for professional photographers – like instant HDR and HDR panoramic shots and flawless image tracking – are now within easy reach for the rest of us.”

NVIDIA Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i
Image credits to NVIDIA


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