Cool Kodak Technology
Kodak, for instance, is playing around with software that will recognize faces. The application would be able, theoretically, to search all the pictures on your hard drive and pull out every image of you son or daughter, aunt or uncle, mom or dad.
That's all well and good, but what then? Kodak's got software that will automatically organize those images into albums. So, for instance, you could end up this process with an album that tells the story of your family's year in pictures. Or more.
In the future there may be the capacity to analyze the pictures for certain scenes -- grouping indoor and outdoor shots together, for example, or even spotting Christmas tree shots.
This is more than vaporware. Kodak's now marketing an industrial scanner that will allow you to bring your shoeboxes of images into a local retailer -- it's being tested at Wegmans right now -- and walk out with a Picture CD.
But not any old CD. The software is able to look for clues in the images and group them by decade, based on the type of photo technology that was prevalent in that time frame. For instance, there was a brief period when the photo industry liked to print pictures with rounded corners. With all that information in hand, it becomes relatively easy to direct the software to route the images to the 1970s file.
Mitch Goldstone, undoubtedly the nation's most outspoken photo retailer, has had this scanning service in place for about a year. Though he's in California, he's willing to scan images long distance (if you're confident sending them!) Go to this site for more details.
Here's a story in Wired Magazine, the domain of tech geeks, about the event.
What I think is interesting about the theme of Tuesday's event is Kodak's analogy to digital music. Just like the Apple iPod and other MP3 devices unleashed music from their CD prisons, so, too, is photography on the cusp of a liberating revolution, where pictures would be more than stray bits and bytes on a hard drive. They'd be freed to be turned into lasting memories -- albums, online slide shows, picture instant messages and more.
The open question is whether Kodak can make money from the new technologies. The reality is, no one knows for sure until the technologies get into the marketplace. We shall see.