Masahide Kaneko and colleagues at the University of Electro-Communications, on the outskirts of
Tokyo, Japan, developed the system, which can even eliminate blinking from group photographs, they
Digital cameras can cause people to inadvertently blink at the vital moment by emitting several
pre-photo flashes. These are meant to prevent red eye by making the subject's irises contract, but they
can also dazzle the target and make them to shut their eyes when the picture is captured.
The system developed by Kaneko's team gets around the problem by snapping 15 frames in 0.5
seconds after the shutter button is clicked. A computer then rapidly analyses these image, discarding
those in which the subject is blinking, leaving photographer with a better final snap.
The Japanese researchers say the system can even detect closed eyes within photos of up to 30
people and can automatically pick out an image featuring the least blinkers. They hope to sell the idea
to camera manufacturers and believe a commercial version could be ready within two years.
Thompson says it would be a logical step, given that high-end digital cameras already come with
on-board image-processing software and fairly powerful microprocessors.