Stanford University photo scientists are developing an open-source digital camera that will give programmers around the world the chance to create software that will teach cameras new tricks. If successful, camera performance will no longer be limited by the software that comes pre-installed by the manufacturer. Virtually all the features of the Stanford camera - focus, exposure, shutter speed, flash, etc. - are at the command of software that can be created by programmers.
Plans are to develop the Stanford camera, called "Frankencamera," as a platform that will first be available at minimal cost to fellow computational photography researchers, who use optics benches, imaging chips, computers, and software to develop techniques and algorithms to enhance and extend photography.
Consumers would be able to download applications to their open-platform cameras the way apps are downloaded to iPhones today. Programmers will have the freedom to experiment with new ways of tuning the camera's response to light and motion, adding their own algorithms to process the raw images in innovative ways.