IEEE preps cameraphone image-quality test

May 08, 2012 // By Rick Merritt
The IEEE aims to release within two years a test suite to help consumers assess the picture quality of cellphone cameras. The suite will consist of a variety of metrics, probably simplified to a single score.

The Camera Phone Image Quality (CPIQ) effort, now IEEE P1858, started in 2007 as a project at the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A). The IEEE acquired the project and related assets from I3A and officially re-launched the project in March.

Consumers “need a more accurate and reliable way to ensure that the camera phones they purchase deliver the image quality they desire—it’s not just about the megapixels,” said George John, ad-interim chair of P1858 and principal program manager with Microsoft, in a press statement.

Membership in the P1858 is open, and the group is expected to include many of the companies that participated in the I3A effort. “The overlap in membership between IEEE and I3A will allow for continuity in work toward a globally relevant CPIQ standard,” said Lisa Walker, president of I3A, in the press statement.

To date, the I3A identified fundamental attributes for a test suite, as well as existing standards related to them. The P1858 aims to define methods for measuring and communicating those features to consumers.

The image attributes the group aims to measure may include depth of field, glare, color consistency and white balance, said an IEEE spokesman. “The group wants to create something like a five-star rating system to let people know what quality a camera phone can deliver--they want to make it real simple for consumers,” he said.

It’s not yet clear what certification or validation procedures the group may define. However its work is expected to be finished in 18-24 months, said Edward Rashba, an IEEE director of new business ventures. “If engineers can build to a common spec and performance requirements that will be a good outcome,” he said.

Separately, the IEEE released its third major update of its Wi-Fi standards since it was first published in 1999.

The IEEE 802.11-2012, revision 1 includes ten amendments published since the last update issued in 2007. They include the .11n spec as well