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The work of Microsoft Research is often high level, with work in areas as diverse as making the power consumption of data centres more efficient or advancements towards an HIV vaccine.

In the times between these more serious projects, they’ve also made a number of apps for Windows Phone. The latest of these is Blink, a camera Lens that offers a trouble-free way to take action pictures that capture just the right moment, or photos of friends who have a tendency to close their eyes just as the shutter releases.

Using the app is very simple. Either launch it from its own icon or from the lenses selector inside the camera UI. When you press the shutter release, the screen flashes rapidly for a couple of seconds, to let you know it’s working. Inside, the camera is taking a whole series of pictures – actually starting even before you press the button.

After it’s finished, you can choose the best shot by scrolling through the film strip at the bottom of the screen with your finger. Want to capture someone mid-air? They’ll be relieved that they only have to jump once, and the camera lets you select the right picture. Then you can either save or share the image using all the usual media.


There are some limitations. The pictures are lower resolution than normal – 1280 by 720 pixels – which is fine for online use, but you wouldn’t want to print them out. You also need to do without the flash, or other camera controls. That said, Blink is free and currently has a 4.5 star rating on the basis of 275 reviews.

Here’s a tutorial that takes you through all the features.

Have you used Blink yet?

image credit: Martin Calthrae