According to a report from Apple Insider, if a patent that was filed in April of this year is any indication, tech giant Apple is looking at improving its Faces subject identification feature by enabling it to recognize people not only by their facial characteristics, but by other identifiers as well, such as body language, typical poses, and their torso.
The patent — which aptly is titled “Recognizing People by Combining Face and Body Cues” — was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in April but was only revealed this week.
Apple’s Faces feature was introduced in 2009 in the company’s iPhoto app, and it uses facial recognition to recognize the subjects of photographs in order to organize them based on the device owner’s contact list.
“With the proliferation of camera-enabled mobile devices, users can capture numerous photos of any number of people and objects in many different settings and geographic locations,” says the patent. “However, categorizing and organizing those images can be challenging.”
A similar feature is available in Google Photos using the Google Assistant, and though it is fraught with problems of its own, it is widely considered a generally more reliable and handy subject identification and photo organization tool.
“Often, face recognition is used to identify a person across images, but face recognition can fail, e.g., in the event of a poor quality image and/or the pose of the person, such as if the person is looking away from the camera,” the patent explains.
To solve this problem, Apple’s patent proposes using what it refers to as a “cluster” of an individual’s characteristics so that the system no longer needs to rely entirely on the quality of the capture of the person’s face.
In the patent, Apple goes on to detail that over a longer period of time, pictures taken of an individual can be grouped into what it calls ‘moments’, in which “a ‘moment’ consists of images taken within a same general location (e.g., home, work, a restaurant, or other significant location), and within a same timeframe of a predetermined length.”
It must be noted that, as with any patent — and Apple in particular files patents all the time — the existence of this most recent one doesn’t guarantee that the concepts detailed within it will ever actually make it to a commercially available product.
Source: Apple Insider
December 4, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis