Stanford University's Computer Graphics Laboratory and their Photo scientists have conceived an open-source camera. Tey named it the Frankencamera, it consists of a Nokia N95 mobile phone camera module; a circuit board; a couple of lenses from Canon; and Linux for all the open-source goodness.
The current prototype of the Frankencamera is build from off-the-shelf parts, in some cases borrowed from already dead cameras. Its creators came up with this name because they say it's ugly--therefore the name.
Now, what is the big deal about having an open-source operating system on cameras. Well, it means the specialist who can build programs can create algorithms to process images differently or even better than what brands such as Canon and Nikon are currently offering.
An open-source platform will also give the users a wide range of customization options. For instance, photojournalists can program their dSLRs to activate certain settings when a particular lens or accessory is attached.
For now, the Frankencamera is programmed to snap high dynamic range pictures. In a year, they hope to distribute the platform at minimal cost to computational photography researchers and courses worldwide.