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Memory optimization functionality for digital cameras based on resampling of taken pictures

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130033D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Oct-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The memory utilization of a picture depends on both its resolution (number of pixels) and its quality (compression factor). Current digital cameras have the option to set in advance the resolution and quality for the next picture(s) to be shot. This allows a user to adjust the overall quality of the next pictures to be shot based on the currently available free memory. For example, a user may sacrifice the size and/or quality of the next picture(s) to save space. The main idea of this invention is that the User of the digital camera can free up some space in the memory by selectively down-sampling any one stored image. This reduces the space occupied by the image, thus freeing it up. In addition to the manual operation initiated by the user, the camera can automatically optimize the memory usage with a described algorithm.

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Memory optimization functionality for digital cameras based on resampling of taken pictures

The memory utilization of a picture depends on both its resolution (number of pixels) and its quality (compression factor).

     Current digital cameras have the option to set in advance the resolution and quality for the next picture(s) to be shot. This allows a user to adjust the overall quality of the next pictures to be shot based on the currently available free memory. For example, a user may sacrifice the size and/or quality of the next picture(s) to save space.

     Anyway, there comes a time when the memory becomes full, and the only options current users have to free up some or all the memory and continue to shoot pictures are the following:
a) Delete some pictures stored in memory,
b) Download the pictures to a computer,
c) Buy another memory card.

     The present invention provides the user with a fourth option that is freeing up memory by reducing the space occupied by some or all the pictures already shot, stored in memory.

     The main idea is that the User of the digital camera can free up some space in the memory by selectively down-sampling any one stored image. This reduces the space occupied by the image, thus freeing it up.

     The present invention allows a user of a digital camera to free up some of the memory used by stored pictures by reducing the space used by such pictures. This is achieved by downsampling some or all the pictures.

This has the advantages of allowing the user to free up memory on-the fly, without requiring an external computer and without requiring the user to discard (i.e. delete) any picture, but only to reduce the size/quality of some of them.

Downsampling of stored pictures can be done in several ways:
1) Reducing the resolution (the size of the picture, for example from 5 mega pixels to 3 mega pixels)
2) Cropping a part of the picture, either manually or automatically (for example to the center of the picture)
3) Reducing the quality (compression factor)
4) Reducing the color depth (number of different colors) or any combination of the above.

     In addition to the manual operation initiated by the user, the camera can automatically optimize the memory usage with the following algorithm: - Initially, the memory is empty. - Each new image is stored at the maximum possible quality (that is fidelity, resolution, color depth, and so on), until the available memory is full - When the user captures a new image, the camera automatically performs a downsampling of all the stored images, in order and up to free up the memory necessary to store the additional image. Of course, the new image is stored with the

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same current quality of the other images.

     As an option, the user can specify that some images be not available for such automatic down-sampling, in order to preserve them at the full quality.

     This method is innovative, in that it does not require any intervention of the user, or even knowledge that an optimization is...