"According to Levoy, these are just a couple of examples of how
programmers could change the future of photography with the
Frankencamera. The key is that the camera uses a Linux operating
system. All digital cameras are essentially minicomputers, says
Levoy, and they can be modified a bit by the photographer. But the
manufacturer determines what features are available. Linux is "open
source," which means the camera owner can change everything about
the electronic guts.
"Photography took an enormous leap about 30 years ago, after
Willard Boyle and George Smith came up with the "electronic eye"
sensor that allowed cameras to ditch film and go digital. Boyle and
Smith won the Nobel Prize for Physics this past week for their
work. But Levoy says that digital photography has not progressed as
fast as it should have since then — and that's what he's
hoping to change."