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Lumero's logo. Courtesy of Lumero Inc. Click here to visit the Lumero website! Lumero claims first fully automatic red-eye removal!
(Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 17:12 EDT)

Imaging company that rose phoenix-like from the ashes of Zing.com offers its red-eye library for both desktop and server use...

Lumero Inc., a privately held company that last February changed its name - formerly Zing.com - and business model (from online photo services to software development) has announced what it is labelling "a technological breakthrough", our friends at LetsGoDigital.nl report. Lumero has developed a software library which it claims is the "[industry's] first completely automatic red eye detection and reduction system". The company is making the libraries available for developers making Win32 desktop or Win32 / Linux / Solaris server applications.

At first glance, industry firsts are always a weighty claim to make, and we're not certain ourselves that we can't recall having seen automatic red-eye reduction in any programs before. That said, we can't offhand think of any that don't require the user to intervene in some way, be it to select the location and size of the area to be corrected, the color of the person's eyes or both. Lumero claims its software can determine all of these for itself, and remove the red-eye automatically without 'correcting' things in the image that it shouldn't have touched...

For more, visit Lumero's website and look at the example images below. (Note that the interface shown is for demonstration only. There's no final product useable by the public yet, and the interface is not a part of the library - developers will make this themselves to match the look and feel of their own programs.)

Lumero's Red-Eye filter, shown before automatic red-eye removal. Courtesy of Lumero Inc., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Lumero's Red-Eye filter, shown after automatic red-eye removal. Courtesy of Lumero Inc., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Lumero's automatic red-eye library at work; a before (top) and after (above) comparison.

Source: Lumero Inc.
Thanks to LetsGoDigital.nl for this item!

Original Source Press Release:

Industry's first completely automatic red eye detection and reduction system launched

Patent-pending technology removes red eye without requiring user interaction

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 18, 2002 - Lumero Inc., the leader in digital imaging infrastructure and device connectivity, announced a technological breakthrough in photography today. This patent-pending technology automatically detects and corrects red-eye, acknowledged as one of the biggest problems in consumer photography.

Caused by the reflection of the camera's flash from blood vessels in the back of the retina, red-eye can ruin an otherwise perfect picture. As the distance between the flash and lens continues to shrink with the release of smaller and smaller cameras, the problem is becoming increasingly common. Although most modern cameras incorporate some kind of a red-eye reduction mode, users don't always remember to activate it before taking a picture, and even when enabled the results can be inconsistent. In fact, users often disable it entirely, as the pre-flash many cameras use can cause the subject to blink or squint just as their picture is being taken.

"Despite numerous attempts by the industry to solve red-eye, a definitive solution has yet to be introduced to the market." says Lumero President and CEO Philip Lavee. "Existing tools are typically part of a complex image editing program that are neither user friendly nor particularly effective. In contrast, our system is completely automatic and requires no user interaction whatsoever."

Advanced Detection
Lumero's red-eye system is built around an innovative detection algorithm developed by our team of Imaging Scientists that works on a broad range of images including close-ups and group shots, as well as more complex cases where the subject's face is not directly facing the camera or where one but not both eyes have red eye.

The system also features a very low false detection rate, a critical feature in an automatic system. It is imperative that round, red areas in the image not be misdetected as being red-eye. For example, red buttons on a shirt or polka dots on a tie.

Realistic Reduction
Once the red-eye areas have been detected in an image, the method used to remove it is equally, if not more important. Many existing systems simply paint black or cyan pixels onto the eyes, resulting in a very unnatural appearance. Lumero's technology creates a very realistic look by desaturating the specific wavelength of red that causes red-eye in only those areas identified as having red-eye in the image. The result is that the original, natural eye color of the people in the picture comes back to the foreground.

Available Now
Two versions of the Red Eye Detection Library are currently shipping: a desktop (Win32) and a server (Win32, Linux and Solaris) library. Since it is shipped in the form of a library, customers retain full control over user interface. The libraries include full documentation as well as sample code to integrate the library with your application on online service quickly and easily.

About Lumero
Privately-held Lumero is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Alloy Ventures, Vulcan Ventures, Sony Electronics and Hewlett Packard, amongst others. Companies using Lumero's technology include Sony Electronics and Nikon. Lumero was founded in 2001 through the restructuring of Zing Network, the premier online photo site, with the teams and extensive IP libraries of long-time imaging infrastructure providers Pix.com and FotoNation.

Lumero is headquartered in San Francisco, California with European headquarters in Galway, Ireland. For more information, please visit http://www.lumero.com

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