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Scalado Remove May Let You Erase Photobombers from Pictures [Video]

By Ryan Whitwam

If this new technology pans out, your vacation shots might be free of background gawkers forever.

We're all been there; you take a really great picture, but there's that guy in the background. He's doing something weird, and your picture is forever ruined, or is it? Scalado Remove is a new system to remove unwanted objects (or people) from pictures, and the technology behind it will be coming to phones from OEMs like Sony, Motorola, and HTC. The goal is to deal directly with the phone makers, and not to sell you a standalone app. That said, there is a demo app designed for Gingerbread floating around out there. Scalado also has a snazzy promotional video showing off the concept.

Among all the modifications that OEMs have made to Android over the years, one area that their efforts have not inspired rage in us is the camera. Until recently, Android’s camera interface and features were really sub-par. HTC has given users touch-to-focus, Motorola built a great panorama mode, and Samsung implemented a more customizable interface. But a new technology from Scalado might make the camera experience better than ever.

The video makes you wonder if it can really be that great, and as most things are, it’s probably a little exaggerated. Scalado allows you to remove objects because it has multiple source images. When you hit the shutter button, the phone will capture multiple shots. We would not be surprised if the images needed to be smaller in order to get them all snapped in a reasonable amount of time.

Scalado’s system will make a composite of the multiple shots, and use the data from one, to replace backgrounds where you want objects removed.

Scalado’s system will make a composite of the multiple shots, and use the data from one, to replace backgrounds where you want objects removed. The examples we have seen so far involve objects that are moving. Obviously that means that there will be some shots with the necessary background to fill in the gaps.

Stationary objects will be much more tricky and reminiscent of Adobe’s context-aware fill in Photoshop CS5. We haven’t seen any evidence that Scalado has the power to do this, but the technology is still in prototype. Even if you tweak a picture by removing elements, Scalado keeps all the composites so you can go back later to change what is visible, and what isn’t.

Scalado Remove is going to be demoed in real life at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month. We worry that in order to get enough images for the composite, that you will essentially be taking a very long exposure picture. Doing that without a tripod could make even your intended subject a bit blurry. We’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out if this really is the next big thing in mobile photography, or just another good idea without the execution to match.