Apple Face Detection Patent Hints at Possible PrimeSense Tech Headed For 'iPhone 8'

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Apple was awarded a patent today that details a method of detecting faces in a digital video feed through the use of depth information.

Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the document describes how face detection algorithms could identify the presence of faces in a live video when people in the scene are located at different distances from the camera.

Screen Shot 4 e1488886008905
To reduce processing overhead and minimize error rates, the system applies depth information to existing face detection algorithms used in photography and intelligently scales the face window sizes according to their depth coordinates – i.e., the further away a face is from the lens, the smaller the capture frame around it.

The method utilizes a special infrared light to project an optical radiation pattern onto the scene, which is then converted into a depth map. As noted by AppleInsider, the depth mapping system referenced in the patent is based on motion tracking technology developed by Israeli motion capture firm PrimeSense, which Apple acquired in 2013.

Screen Shot 3 1
While the system is able to recognize faces in general, it lacks the ability to identify individual differences between faces, so this isn't a bio-recognition solution in itself, but it could become a crucial enabling step in a wider authentication system.

Apple is said to be developing a "revolutionary" front-facing camera system for the upcoming "iPhone 8". The technology is rumored to consist of three modules to enable fully-featured 3D sensing capabilities. While there's no way to know for sure if this particular patent describes one of those modules, the upgraded camera system is said to be fueled by PrimeSense algorithms.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

newyorksole Avatar
49 months ago

Selling my stock just befor iPhone 8, not because it will be poor, in fact I expect it to be excellent... still, it won't have the usb-c, full glass, oled with intergrated fingerprint scanner, with revolutionary front camera, full wireless charging, multi day battamerylife, quick charge, liquid metal and touch bar. These high expectations are going to make a great phone seem ordinary and people need to understand that.

I think you may be underestimating how big of a release this will be.

iPhone is Apple's cash cow. This is the 10 year anniversary and also will probably be the first event at Steve Jobs Theater.

It may not have all of THOSE features you listed, but whatever they release is going to be damn good. They wouldn't waste this release with mediocre features.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
49 months ago

As [USER=957351]@djcerla[/USER] stipulated in one thread, unlocking with face recognition would likely be a backup/secondary solution for Touch ID. So you can use either or. :)

Every phone that's offering facial/retina/iris unlock is offering it as an option. There's no reason for anyone to think Apple would offer it as the only solution. People work themselves into a lather over nothing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
49 months ago

So I can't unlock the phone down low if I need to be discreet about messaging someone or checking something?

As [USER=957351]@djcerla[/USER] stipulated in one thread, unlocking with face recognition would likely be a backup/secondary solution for Touch ID. So you can use either or. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benadd Avatar
49 months ago
PrimeSense was an Israeli company, not Italian.

('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/03/07/apple-face-detection-patent-iphone-8/')


Apple was awarded a patent today that details a method of detecting faces in a digital video feed through the use of depth information.

Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the document ('http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=2593&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&s1=(1%2F1.CCLS.+AND+20170307.PD.)&p=52&OS=ccl/1/1+and+isd/3/7/2017&RS=(CCL/1/1+AND+ISD/20170307)') describes how face detection algorithms could identify the presence of faces in a live video when people in the scene are located at different distances from the camera.



To reduce processing overhead and minimize error rates, the system applies depth information to existing face detection algorithms used in photography and intelligently scales the face window sizes according to their depth coordinates - i.e., the further away a face is from the lens, the smaller the capture frame around it.

The method utilizes a special infrared light to project an optical radiation pattern onto the scene, which is then converted into a depth map. As noted by AppleInsider ('http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/03/07/apple-patents-method-of-detecting-faces-using-depth-information-bolsters-iphone-8-rumors'), the depth mapping system referenced in the patent is based on motion tracking technology developed by Italian motion capture firm PrimeSense, which Apple acquired in 2013 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2013/11/24/apple-confirms-acquisition-of-israeli-3d-body-sensing-firm-primesense/').



While the system is able to recognize faces in general, it lacks the ability to identify differences between individual faces, so this isn't a bio-recognition solution in itself, but it could become a crucial enabling step in a wider authentication system.

Apple is said to be developing a "revolutionary" front-facing camera system ('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/21/upcoming-oled-iphone-camera/') for the upcoming "iPhone 8". The technology is rumored to consist of three modules to enable fully-featured 3D sensing capabilities. While there's no way to know for sure if this particular patent describes one of those modules, the upgraded camera system is said to be fueled by PrimeSense algorithms.

Article Link: Apple Face Detection Patent Hints at Possible PrimeSense Tech Headed For 'iPhone 8' ('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/03/07/apple-face-detection-patent-iphone-8/')

Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
49 months ago

As [USER=957351]@djcerla[/USER] stipulated in one thread, unlocking with face recognition would likely be a backup/secondary solution for Touch ID. So you can use either or. :)

I really do hope they make facial recognition as an authentication mechanism optional via configuration. I don't want someone being able to unlock my phone by forcing it in front of my face.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
49 months ago
That picture just looks (descriptively sounds) like the version 1 of the Kinect.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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