Following on from a New Scientist article that was written a few days ago, I ended up on the website of Taeg Sang Cho -- a graduate student at MIT. He's been working on a bunch of advanced imaging algorithms -- with gifts and grants from big names like Microsoft, Adobe and Google.
His recent work -- three research papers -- is all about content-aware manipulation of photos. I'm struggling to pick one because they're all awesome, so I'll just give you the highlights:
- A probabilistic jigsaw puzzle solver -- this is the technology featured in the New Scientist article, so there's lots of dumbed-down details if you don't want to read the paper itself. In essence, it does exactly what a human does: matches edges, but it does it quickly and very accurately. Similar technology could be used in photo manipulation (and may indeed already be used by Adobe's Content-Aware Fill) -- the biggest give-away when you manipulate images are edges. This technology could magic away those edges!
- A content-aware image prior -- this is a funky way of saying 'image restoration', and I wouldn't be surprised if this is a sneak-peek at the technology you'll see in Photoshop CS6! Look at the sample photo -- the results speak for themselves.
- Motion blur removal with orthogonal parabolic exposures -- (phew, just typing that gave me a bit of a hard-on) -- in layman's terms, this is blur removal by taking two photos from slightly different viewpoints and then... performing some magic. Again, look at the sample images for some fantastic proof. I wouldn't expect to see moving lenses in still cameras any time soon though...