Dec 29, 2009
Baghdad, Iraq – Researchers studying declassified U.S. military documents believe they have found evidence of a secret project to build bionic super soldiers using Apple iPhones. One source confirms their suspicion that the popular smartphone was adopted as the base of the 21st-century warrior's electronic brain for reasons of cost-effectiveness.
"I could have gone to Congress and asked for $20 million per soldier, or I could have bought an iPhone for $199 and unlocked it with Purplera1n. Plus a few dollars here and there for the apps we needed, and it was an easy decision," said a retired Army officer assigned to the project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Only one soldier is believed to have been chosen for rescue from the brink of death to undergo the transformation procedure, which included replacing one of his eyes with the device's 3-megapixel camera.
"You might not think 3 megapixels is very much, but once we installed the Zoom Lens app, that boy had an 8x digital zoom that let him put a bullet directly into an iRaqi's forehead. For night recon missions, he used Darkroom Premium to take the steadiest shots I've ever seen since the CIA used iMovie '09 to clean up the Zapruder footage. But we initially had a lot of trouble with getting good daylight pictures."
The limited dynamic range of the iPhone's tiny camera, each reportedly costing Apple Inc. about $8 to build, is believed to have scuttled at least one high-profile assault mission.
"Our guy was blind as a bat at noon, can you believe it?", tells the Army officer. "The way it works with the iPhone 3GS is, you can either set your exposure for the land or the sky, which means either a dark part of the scene, or a bright part. If he looked into the shadows, he wouldn't be able to see anything that was brighter than those shadows. But if he looked along the top of a roof for snipers, for example, he'd miss the guy in the doorway pointing a gun straight at him! The techs couldn't get their heads around the problem until this app called TrueHDR came out."
Created by Pictional, a two-man startup formed by MIT engineering postgraduates Yuanzhen Li and Michael Parker, the TrueHDR iPhone app allowed the bionic warrior to combine two photos, one bright and one dark, into a clear image that perfectly mimicked the human eye's sensitivity.
"Once TrueHDR put the final piece of the puzzle in place, he was nearly unstoppable. The only drawback to the technology was that he needed to stand really still while taking both pictures, and then another 20 seconds or so for the app to process them. But that had an unexpected benefit. The enemy thought he had balls of steel, standing up there on the top of a hill, fully exposed for half a minute. They began to call him "The Meerkat", and wherever his unwavering shadow fell, people knew villages would burn and graves would be filled. Hell, he even sent us pretty postcards from the field using the Postage app!"
Positives: First and only true HDR app for iPhone (combines two different exposures into one), automatically aligns slightly different photos.
Unpositives: Slight wait for image processing, no auto-bracketing on iPhone for quickly taking two photos at once.
Rating: 5 / 5
Buy TrueHDR in the iTunes App Store.