Jan 27 2010 Posted: 00:00 GMT
Dr Peter Corcoran of NUI Galway is the only engineer based in Ireland to be elected Fellow of the prestigious US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in the 2010 listing. Dr Corcoran is being recognised for his 'contributions to digital camera technologies' alongside 308 other engineering experts from around the world. Dr Corcoran's elevation to Fellow brings to 10 the number of Irish-based researchers who have been recognised by the IEEE. That number includes Dr Corcoran's colleague Professor Ger Hurley from NUI Galway who was recognised in 2006 for his work in the field of power electronics. Fellowship of the IEEE is conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon persons of outstanding qualifications and experience who have contributed significantly to society. A native of Dublin, Dr Corcoran has made significant contributions to digital camera technology both through his academic publications and through a technology company, FotoNation, which he co-founded with Eran Steinberg and Petronel Bigioi. FotoNation became the market leader in automated red-eye removal and continues to develop and refine a range of OEM technologies for digital cameras. These technologies are used in more than 100 million digital cameras worldwide. Dr Corcoran was also a major contributor to a range of face-tracking and face-analysis techniques pioneered for digital cameras and cameraphones by FotoNation in the period 2003-2008. Again, these technologies have greatly enhanced today s consumer digital cameras enabling better quality images to be achieved in low-cost consumer products. Dr Corcoran s research team from NUI Galway formed the original engineering team of the start-up company that became FotoNation. Almost all of these engineers are still working with the company today. According to the IEEE: "The ability of a small, Galway based, engineering company to compete with large multinational corporations in the development of leading edge image processing algorithms is due in no small part to Dr Corcoran s technical vision and knowledge of embedded systems and image processing techniques". More recently, Dr Corcoran's research has explored methods for the encoding of digital content using personal biometric features. This approach offers a potential solution to the growing problems of piracy and illegal distribution of digital content such as music and movies. Dr Corcoran added: "The new challenge for electronic engineers such as myself now lies in the area of biometric features. Within a matter of years we can hope to have consumer devices that will "know" their owners. These new "smart" devices should solve many of the problems we have today with digital copyright and the piracy of movies and music".