Following Scalado's announcement of its new Remove technology yesterday, we had to try it out and see just how well it works in a real-world situation. Scalado has created an app for Android devices to demonstrate the way the tech works, and it's been released as a preview. However, you shouldn't expect to be able to download it in the future — the company has no plans to distribute the software direct to consumers.
To remove objects that could spoil your otherwise perfect photo, Remove takes five frames at a time before analyzing them as a set and deciding what's moved into frame as you've taken your photo. Similarly to "best shot" modes, you can select the frame you like most and then remove or keep objects that the software detects. We tested on our own HTC Desire, and despite still being in the prototype stage the app is remarkably quick and reliable. Occasionally, though, we found that it wouldn't replace an object with a totally clear background and left behind a phantom leg or front of a car hovering in mid-air.
There are a couple of notable differences between the demo and the video that Scalado released yesterday. Firstly, once the shots are fired you can lower the camera — all the processing's done from those five static shots and the device can't fill in any more detail later on. Second, there's not the same edge-detection interface (the yellow lines and shading on the original video) here, with the software opting for white boxes to highlight what can be removed. The results are incredibly impressive — we zoomed in to look for artifacts of the removed items and couldn't see a thing.
Scalado tells us that Remove will be baked into manufacturers' camera applications within the next 3 to 12 months. It's working alongside a number of brands to optimize their hardware with a high-speed burst mode, which should make for more effective removals.