Apple Patents Light Field Cameras That Could Add AR to FaceTime
Apple continues to impress the AR world with game-changing innovations that add to their already incredible products. The company's most recent endeavor has been to plunge into the world of augmented reality with the announcement of their ARKit.
Now it seems they are already planning ahead for what they can further use AR for, patenting lighting field cameras for their Macs and iOS devices that will add AR to their pictures and video calls.
The cameras work on the iPhone by overlaying images from two cameras to add depth, creating a blurred background effect. These cameras were already installed in the iPhone 7 Plus in a photo feature called "Portrait Mode," but now Apple is moving towards using them for AR additions to FaceTime.
First, according to VC Daily, Apple seems likely to use their Portrait Mode on video calling, blurring the background so that the person stands out on the screen. Other products already use this, including Razor Stargazer and the Logitech Brio.
However, Apple promises to take things further by using augmented reality. With the dual light field cameras, Apple wants to use AR to display alternate live backgrounds behind a video caller. In other words, your iPhone would use one camera to focus on the close-up of a person's face, while the other camera would take in more of the person's surrounding, allowing you to see a wider view of the area that the person you are FaceTiming is in.
In a more augmented reality focused use, a user's face can be cut and projected into a completely different background. What's cool about this is that you would presumably be able to overlay your friend's face over another video that you're watching, like a sports game.
The use of AR with Apple's patented light field cameras will better the experience of those who use FaceTime. This innovative upgrade could bolster FaceTime and maybe surpass other video chat rivals like Skype. In addition, these cameras could also allow users to more intimately connect with those they are calling and possibly pave the way for more video AR functions in the future.