Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Digital Image Inventor Looks Past the Pixel

"Digital Image Founder Smooths Out Pixels"
Tech News, Discovery News (June 26, 2010)

"Russell Kirsch says he's sorry.

"More than 50 years ago, Kirsch took a picture of his infant son and scanned it into a computer. It was the first digital image: a grainy, black-and-white baby picture that literally changed the way we view the world. With it, the smoothness of images captured on film was shattered to bits.

"The square pixel became the norm, thanks in part to Kirsch, and the world got a little bit rougher around the edges.

"As a scientist at the National Bureau of Standards in the 1950s, Kirsch worked with the only programmable computer in the United States. 'The only thing that constrained us was what we imagined,' he says. 'So there were a lot of things we thought of doing. One of which was, what would happen if computers could see the world the way we see it?'..."

There's a pretty good signal/noise ratio in the article: which covers (very briefly) the history of digital images; and discusses (also briefly) Kirsch's new idea.

Which sounds a lot like vector graphics - and a little like the way our visual cortex process data. Which is another topic.

It's not exactly 'smoothing out the pixel' - more like developing a new way to present images. And, maybe, a promising one.

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