Most of the post-processing done by a camera is handled by software that MIT researchers believe could be a lot smarter, faster, and user-friendly. So they're developing a single chip that can handle these operations with remarkable efficiency.

High Dynamic Range imagery, where the camera snaps multiple images to generate a final photo with perfect exposure, usually takes a while for a smartphone to process. But MIT's new chip can generate a ten-megapixel HDR image in just a few hundred milliseconds—almost instantly as far as the photographer's concerned.

MIT's Developing a Chip That Makes You a Better Smartphone Photographer

It's also got another neat trick up its sleeve for improving photos in low-light conditions. Images snapped with a flash are usually blown-out and ugly, but the chip would actually snap two versions—with and without a flash—and combine them into a single perfect image that ensures everything is properly lit. The chip could even instantly deal with issues like noise in a high-ISO image, and is almost like having Photoshop built right into your camera—minus the years of practice needed to figure out how to use it. [MIT via Engadget]