“Racist” HP webcam gets the Consumer Reports test treatment.

by Mike
Posted December 23rd, 2009 at 12:37 pm

A couple of days ago the online world went up in a tizzy because of two Walmart employees who pointed out an inherent and embarrassing flaw in HP’s webcam software. The problem if you don’t recall was that Desi, the black employee, was getting tracked by the auto-adjusting webcam while “White Wonda” was.

I never implied that HP was deliberately being racist. Hell, come on folks. The algorithm is based off of contrast. What is bad however is that HP somehow didn’t take the time to double and triple check this approach. Naturally, any dark image needs more foreground light to see details.

Anywho, Consumer Reports went ahead and tested the troubled webcam for themselves and came away with basically the same conclusion as the “webcam video heard ’round the world” — HP needs to go back to the drawing board with their algorithms or they need to include an LED or two to help compensate. Blinding assuming everyone has a bright, lightly colored shinning face just won’t cut it anymore.

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