Samsung has recently acquired a patent for a system which replaces the user’s face with a Samsung AR Emoji-like 3D model during video calls. The said patent was filed in the first quarter of 2016 and gained recognition by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on 17th this month. According to the Korean smartphone manufacturer, this feature could be useful in places where slow or limited internet connectivity can’t support video calls.
This idea of using 3D models of users during video calls seems similar to the Galaxy S9’s existing AR Emoji feature allowing users to map their faces onto animated emojis.
This feature would be used in future Samsung devices equipped with 3D cameras, with the creation of a 3D mesh model of the faces of the users making the call. The models would become animated during the video call with the help of the image data received from the cameras.
The patent highlights some situations where the apparently flashy functionality could prove useful. The emojis will require a small amount of bandwidth to reproduce, live video in regions with poor internet connectivity could be replaced by them. Real-time likeness and facial expressions of the user will be reproduced, without the same stutters/lag as the regular video calls.
Samsung AR emoji will help address the issue of non-alignment of eye-contact in video calls. Front-facing smartphone cameras are always situated sideways with respect to the display, hence video call participants appear to look beside each other rather than at each other. The emojis would appear to face down the camera.
Of course, gaining the patent doesn’t necessarily mean that Samsung is absolutely going to release this feature. However, with augmented reality technology being on the rise, in combination with the continued popularity of emojis, it seems quite likely that the feature will be available in the near future.
Reports suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have a 3D-capable camera. This could actually help to implement the said functionality.