Google Releases PhotoScan, an App to Digitize Your Photos
I’ve you’ve ever tried to digitize your old, printed photos then you know how much of a hassle it can be without access to a high resolution scanner. Since many people don’t have a great scanner to handle digitizing photographs, they rely on their smartphone cameras. However, the glare and alignment difficulties often results in a sub-optimal version of your original photograph.
This is where Google’s new app, PhotoScan, comes into play. It’s a free application that is available right now on the Play Store. When you launch it, you’re asked to align a photograph within a fixed rectangular frame, forcing the user to snap a picture of the photo at an appropriate angle and distance. After you take the first picture, you’ll then be asked to move the camera over four different white dots while the app continues to capture more images. When you capture photos from all four spots, PhotoScan then runs a custom algorithm designed by Google to combine the photos based on landmarks and eliminate any glare.
Nat and Lo from Google take us behind the scenes to give us a look how PhotoScan works. The app uses computational photography to manipulate exactly what is being produced. PhotoScan removes the lighting glare by having you move the camera to each of those four dots. It will then map out some feature points (a single photo can have between 500 to 4,000 feature points) so the application can match those points from the images it captured.
I was playing with the application last night and it really does make it easier to digitize your old photographs. Oddly enough, Google Play says the application is not compatible with the Pixel XL or the Nexus 6P that I own. It’s likely that Google is slowly rolling out the app to a limited number of devices at a time, but you can grab the APK for it right here.