MAS 964 (H): Special Topics in Media Technology:
Camera Culture
Spring 2008

Class Times: Wednesday 10:30am-12:30pm
Units: 0-9-0
Location: E15-235
Instructor: Ramesh Raskar

Office Hours: By appointment (Room #324)

Course description

With more than a billion people with networked, mobile cameras in their hands, we are seeing a rapid evolution in activities based on visual exchange. People’s daily activities are increasingly based on pervasive recording and eager consumption of images and video. In this seminar course, we will look at the technical as well the social aspects of this rapidly evolving camera culture.

Current systems accomplish mid and high-level visual processing by analyzing images from ordinary cameras that have limited abilities. Can innovative camera-like sensors overcome the tough problems in scene understanding and generate insightful awareness? Can new algorithms exploit, for example, unusual optics, programmable wavelength control or femto-second accurate photon counting to decompose the sensed values into perceptually critical elements? A significant enhancement in those cameras for scene analysis, and superior metadata tagging for effective sharing and display will bring about a revolution in visual communication. The new tools will spawn new visual art forms, optically smart sensors will empower disabled persons, pixel-coordinated interactions will harvest productivity of crowdsourcing for complex tasks and image-savvy commerce will bring together cultures separated by language barriers.

We will explore novel hardware and software tools based on advanced lenses, digital illumination, modern sensors and emerging image-analysis algorithms. The camera culture is transforming social interactions, reshaping businesses and influencing communities worldwide. We will explore innovative protocols for sharing and consumption of visual media.


The course will consist of lectures and guest talks followed by in-class discussion. The guest talks will be by the leaders in imaging industry.


Familiarity with imaging, camera techniques, applied optics and signal processing will be helpful. 


Each student will present one topic based on papers from the reading list and write one survey paper. To receive credit, you must attend regularly, present material on chosen topics and participate in discussions.


Follow the link for each class to find a detailed description, suggested readings, and class slides. Some of the later classes may be subject to reordering or rescheduling.

Date Topic (tentative)
Guest Speaker/Class Discussion
1 Feb 06
Introductions  [PPT] 56 MB
7 MB
What will a camera look like in 10 years, 20 years?

Summary of Discussion

2 Wed 13 Feb

Imaging Devices, Modern Optics and Lenses

[PPT] 21MB

[PDF] 6 MB

Class Notes
How can we augment the camera to support best 'image search'?

Summary of Discussion
3 Wed 20 Feb Mobile Photography
[PPT]  8MB

Class Notes
What are the beneficial opportunities in pervasive recording of public spaces? (no surveillance/privacy discussion for now)

Summary of Discussion
4 Wed 27 Feb Visual Social Computing and Citizen Journalism
Class Notes
How can we enable next generation of user generated MOBILE visual media and content?
Community Photo Collections at U of Washington
5 Wed 05 Mar

Emerging Sensor Technologies

What will be in Photoshop2028?

Nokia Research, Mobile Computational Photography
Wed 12 Mar Beyond Visible Spectrum
How will our notion of visual information change with UltraHigh Speed Imaging?

RedShift Technologies(Matthias Wagner, Thermal Imaging)
Sports Applications
Wed 19 Mar

Intel Research (Rahul Sukthankar)

Fri 04 Apr Trust in Imaging

Google Maps Streetview (Augusto Roman, project co-founder) (Note this talk is on FRIDAY)
Hany Farid on image tampering
Bill Mitchel, MIT's book on The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era
Georgia Tech Capture Resistant Environment
NYTimes Anti-Paparazzi Flash
BBC Camcorder Piracy

Wed 09 Apr Computational Imaging in Sciences

Sony Playstation EyeToy (Richard Marks, inventor Eye-Toy, Cameras at Home)
Wed 16 Apr

Solutions for Visually Challenged

Sandy Pentland
Low vision and assistive technologies (scroll to near the bottom) (mostly products)
Wed 23 Apr NO class

Wed 30 Apr

Cameras in Developing Countries

Future Products and Business Models

Microsoft (April 29th, Note this talk is on TUESDAY)
Wed 07 May Student Presentations

Canon USA (Consumer Imaging Group) (TBA)
Wed 14 May Student Presentations
HP Research Labs (Tom Malzbender on CameraPhone Usage, GPS-based tools)

Reading List

A list of suggested readings will be provided for each class.

Computational Photography

More Links

What is Computational Camera, Shree Nayar
Great collection of projects, Shree Nayar
Stanford Projects, Marc Levoy and collaborators
Community Photo Collections at U of Washington
CSAIL-MIT work on Computational Photography
Jack Tumblin's 'Questions' for the field

 Ramesh Raskar