Amazon just announced the Amazon Echo Look (with a ‘hands free' camera) and its main selling point is that it takes photos and video of you – with the intent to help you with your wardrobe (and of course to sell you more things!).

But what fascinated me right off the bat was their demonstration of blurring the background simulating bokeh!

Here's what they said about the camera: “depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur” — my eyes lit up! “depth-sensing”? Must have 2 or more cameras then right? Doesn't look like it on close examination.

Well, until I started looking a little bit closer and noticed all kinds of problems with their blur/bokeh.

Is this great computational imaging?
Amazon Echo Look image on cellphone with fake bokeh – just look at the top of the phone and notice how out of focus it is but the image is sharp
amazon echo look sample computational imaging with blurred background
Ok, this is just false advertising isn't it?

First, the sample images shown on the left and right were screen grabs I took from their demo video, and they initially looked kind of cool until I realized they were simply inserted on the phones as dummy images. Look at how the phone and the fingers are blurred but the image is sharp!

But then looking at the images below made me gag even more!

They're simply trying to detect what is a human and blurring everything close by and doing it poorly!

Just look at the halo around the woman!

Oh the pain!

But this isn't designed for photographers so it is ok. I guess. So much for decent computational imaging tho right? Ouch.

So, based on this first look, I don't think Light has anything to worry about from the Amazon Echo Look.

And I'm sorry, but maybe I shouldn't even call it computational imaging!

Source: Images via amazon's website and video.




planetMitch started many moons ago with a large airplane manufacturer who decided they didn't need him any more. Now he runs successful businesses including the best DSLR video blog on the planet - planet5D.

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