Anyone who has taken a photo in low light knows that it’s very easy to take a blurry shot. That’s because your camera’s shutter needs to remain open for a long time to suck in all of the photons it can. In turn, the slightest shake or bump can blur your image. Even if you’ve locked your camera on a tripod, pushing the shutter button can still rattle your shot.
Sony has come up with a fantastic solution. Owners of the company’s A7S orA7II cameras can download an app (yes, even cameras have apps now) called the Touchless Shutter app. It allows you to take a photo just by waving your hand in front of the viewfinder. No contact necessary.
How does this work? The viewfinder has a sensor inside to see when your eye is near it. (This isn’t so strange–your smartphone has a sensor that turns off your screen when the phone is held up to your ear.) This app just repurposes the viewfinder sensor to take photos when your hand is near. You wave once to start an exposure. And you wave again to stop the exposure.
Admittedly, if you want to go hands-free, most cameras do already allow you to set a timer or connect a remote control to avoid shaky photos, and many even support wireless commands coming in from your smartphone. Even still, Touchless Shutter is a good example of the UI ingenuity lurking inside the hardware we already own; the camera just requires a few more lines of code to unlock its potential.