Virtual IS corrects motion blur and camera shake by using a secondary camera (for example, the front-camera on a smartphone) to track the micro-movements causing the blur. The information is then used to deblur the image.

The Canadian company Algolux which specializes in computational optics has today announced the close of a $2.6M Series A financing led by Real Ventures, with participation from a consortium of angel investors. Algolux is planning to use to funds to commercialize its deblurring software and further expand its IP portfolio.

With its software Algolux aims to help make lens designs simpler by substituting complex lens designs with algorithms. Modern lens designs typically consist of up to two dozen individual optical elements which are needed to correct for the geometric and chromatic aberrations of a single lens. Those aberrations can include geometric distortion, field curvature, wavelength-dependent blur, and color fringing.

These Virtual Lens samples were taken with an actual front-facing smartphone camera with a 2MP resolution. 
After running the images through the Virtual Lens engine images are noticeably sharper with more detail.

Algolux has developed technology that can remove those artifacts post-capture and therefore allows for lens designs to be less complex and therefore smaller, lighter and cheaper which would be especially interesting in smartphone imaging where space is at a premium. The Algolux algorithms estimate spatially-varying point spread functions (PSFs) for each color channel and then use a custom deconvolution engine to correct for the aberrations. So, if an image looks soft because its RGB channels don’t line up perfectly, the Virtual Lens algorithm can line them up and create a more detailed image.

Virtual IS is another Algolux project, in which a secondary camera is used to track the micro-movements of a camera that cause image blur and then uses that information to eliminate it. None of the Algolux technologies have made it into a finalized product yet but we hope to find out what Virtual Lens can do in a real camera sometime soon. If you want to find out more about the technology or simply have a soft spot for lengthy mathematical formulae, you can watch the video below or read more on the project website.