This article proposes a new automatic focusing mode setting be added to digital cameras which would put the lens in hyperfocal distance mode. When active the camera would not auto focus on elements of the scene, rather it would check its current f-stop and focal length and then adjust the focus setting so that infinity is always just in focus (at one end of the depth of field). This means that the distance to the nearest point of focus will vary (getting shorter) as the f-stop gets bigger and the focal length gets shorter (lens gets wider). This ability is most useful for the wide to short telephoto ranges, but can also be used to good effect on distant telephoto shots where you are "shooting through" obstructions (such as a wire fence, some foreground branches or the bars in a cage at the zoo) which you do not want to attract the focus. This mode can also be used to improve focus speed, since it only depends on the current aperture and focal lengths, which can be measured directly.
An additional feature that could be used with this would be for the camera's normal autofocus system to pick its typical targets and identify those of them that will be in the hyperfocus zone with circle outlines and those of them that will be out of focus (because they are too close) with X's. This way the photographer can see if the hyperfocus coverage includes the significant features, and if not he can either increase the f-stop, reduce the zoom or switch over to one of the conventional modes.
Another variation on this is for you to enter the maximum and minimum focus distances and then allow the camera to control the f-stop to meet your requirements as you zoom the lens. In this mode the camera would control the exposure by adjusting the shutter speed. The point of this is for fast point and shoot candid work (say high school year book photography) as it eliminates the shutter lag due to focusing.