OpenGL developer to create API for controlling smartphone cameras

The API will let developers reuse code if implemented by multiple platforms

The Khronos Group has announced plans to create an open and royalty-free application programming interface for controlling mobile and embedded cameras and sensors, giving developers access to features such as burst modes and flash.

The Khronos Group may not be a household name, but the organization is to be reckoned with since it develops standards such as OpenGL. But standardized APIs to accelerate image and vision processing isn't enough as the industry lacks a camera interface with low-level control of the camera sensor, lens and flash, it said on Tuesday.

"It enables developers to flexibly control the operation of the camera and sensor to generate innovative sequences of images that can be processed by leading-edge applications. For example, you can fire off a sequence of shots with the focus point adjusted in each shot - which lets you isolate objects at various depths from the background," said Neil Trevett, president at Khronos and vice president of mobile content at Nvidia, via email.

The newly created Camera working group will get to work in June, and any interested companies are welcome to make contributions, influence the work and gain early access to draft specifications by joining Khronos. Companies such as Apple, ARM, Google, Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics are already members.

An open, royalty-free standard provides the opportunity for multiple platforms to adopt the API and provide code portability for developers, according to Trevett. The working group will first develop a native API, but Khronos believes there is an opportunity to bring this advanced camera control into browsers by binding this native API into JavaScript. Discussions on that will start once the native API is in draft, Trevett said.

Those interested are also invited to an overview and discussion covering the challenges and goals of the Camera working group at the Siggraph conference, which takes place at the end of July.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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