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  1. Technology
August 21, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Eastman Kodak Co has developed a new file format called FlashPix that handles files at 10 times the speed on a typical personal computer, the company claims. It is based on technology it already uses in its Photo CD product. Kodak is working with Hewlett-Packard Co, Microsoft Corp and Live Picture Inc to promote the system. Apple Computer Inc, IBM Corp, Fuji Film Co, Canon Inc and Corel Corp are also supporting the Kodak system. One FlashPix file stores the same image in several different resolutions, starting from an accurate representation of the color original down to a rough monochrome image just 64 pixels square. Each version is compressed using JPEG. When manipulating the film, the personal computer automatically selects the image quality suited to the task it is performing. For example, when the pictures are put on the Internet, users can go for a rapid display of a thumbnail image, and then click again for a higher resolution version of the same image. Every image at each resolution is divided into a series of rectangular tiles on which the personal computer zooms in and works on small areas without needing to process the whole file. When an image is changed, FlashPix stores it as ‘viewing parameter’ instructions. Instructions created fast on a low resolution image are only applied to the high resolution version when all the work is done.

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