The Ubiquitous Camera

Technology has transformed photos from treasured keepsakes to personal propaganda

2 min read
The Ubiquitous Camera
Illustration: Greg Mably

For much of the last century, cameras remained fundamentally the same. A good camera was a lifetime investment. Who would have guessed that in the space of a few years Kodak would go into bankruptcy and that the most frequently used camera in the world would be manufactured by a company that makes phones?

Now camera technology is in the midst of dramatic change. There is continuous improvement in sensors and in the capabilities of software algorithms for computational photography. We even have the first light-field cameras, which allow post-capture changes in focus and in point of view. However, it is still the little smartphone camera, when combined with the sharing power of the Internet, that’s driving the big changes in how we use and regard photography today.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

How Nanotech Can Foil Counterfeiters

These tiny mechanical ID tags are unclonable, cheap, and invisible

10 min read
Horizontal
University of Florida
DarkGray

What's the largest criminal enterprise in the world? Narcotics? Gambling? Human trafficking?

Nope. The biggest racket is the production and trade of counterfeit goods, which is expected to exceed US $1 trillion next year. You've probably suffered from it more than once yourself, purchasing on Amazon or eBay what you thought was a brand-name item only to discover that it was an inferior-quality counterfeit.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less