Physics Math Blending

Day 066 Week 10 Q1 Thursday, March 7, 2024

Have you noticed that smartphones can’t combine rather low-cost optics as compared with cameras with DSP processing to yield photographic results that should not be obtainable with an inexpensive, simple lens?  The mathematical operations that the digital signal processing capabilities can perform within the phone significantly augment the physical capabilities of the optical system.

As a result, we not only get a fairly high-quality camera that we can carry in our pocket, unlike the cameras of Old, but his pocketable cameras have far greater optical performance than one would expect if strictly constrained by the laws of physics. We are now able to take the loss of mathematics to augment the physical reality of systems to achieve new hybrid systems, which are part physical and part mathematical.

The bottom line is, we are able to obtain photographic performance far beyond that. What one would expect with a tiny low-cost lens. There was a similar phenomenon going on with another popular device, the guitar. Just as very many people have cameras and take pictures, and now the addition of the mathematical, augmenting processes have radically improved the photographic process, along the way, absorbing many of the capabilities of the dark room, or at least what we used to think of as a dark room. The dark room is now also inside the camera in the body of a phone.

Guitars are also a widely used item.  The current estimates are that roughly 10% of the population of the world plays the guitar. In 2019, supposedly, there were 760 million guitarists. During the pandemic, 16 million Americans took guitar lessons. Over 3 million guitars were sold in 2021 in the United States alone. 

Although at one point in time dearly, everyone had a camera and not nearly everyone has a guitar it is still an incredibly used item, and another one which one combined with mathematics in the form of digital signal processing, has the same kind of performance increase and improvement that the camera does inside the phone.

Basically, a low-cost guitar can be made to sound a lot better in a recording due to this blending of math and physics. If only following the laws of physics to get a terrific guitar, one would have to spend thousands of dollars, but when the laws of physics are augmented by the laws of mathematics as implemented using digital signal processing you can get a similar level of quality from an instrument that cost hundreds of dollars instead of thousands of dollars.

So we see with both cameras and guitars that we can get thousands of dollars worth of performance out of hundreds of dollars worth of physical systems. This is an enormous gain.  Basically, our chips are improving our physical systems by an order of magnitude and that is really saying something. Imagine if a $10,000 car could be made to perform like $100,000 car by using digital mathematical augmentation?