Have you ever faced a situation where you are trying to use Facetime or a Skype video call and the video images are really dark and not very clear? This can happen when you are in a poorly lit room and sometimes it depends upon how your Mac is positioned with relative to the light source.
When faced with this situation while on an iPhone, you try to move to a location, which has ample light in order to let you experience a good quality video conference call.
If only there was a solution that could help us with good image quality of the video content without us moving around in order to find a suitable location for the call. With Video conferencing and live feeds becoming ever popular, this could be a problem of the past, if Apple had its way!
According to a recent patent released by Apple, Aug 9th, Patent # 9413978, the company is researching ways to solve this issue. As per the patent background
“Some digital video cameras include a built-in flash that is automatically triggered in low-light conditions. These cameras, however, do not allow the user to control the characteristics of the flash (e.g., intensity, duration, color, etc.) based on ambient light conditions, and therefore tend to capture images that are too dark or too bright, even when operated in adequate lighting conditions.
For those millions of users who are not fortunate to own a camera with built-in flash (or external flash), the only recourse is to move to a different environment or improve the lighting conditions of the current environment. In some environments, however, the user may not have control over the lighting conditions (e.g., a public building, train, hotel, etc.). “
In this patent, Apple Researchers have put forth techniques that can help control elements of the Flash, including intensity, duration and color of the lighting.
The patent proposes an improved digital image capture system and method using a display device to illuminate a target with light for improved image capture under poor lighting conditions. Various characteristics of the flash (e.g., brightness, color, duration, etc.) can be adjusted to improve image capture.
In some implementations, the system provides users with feedback (e.g., live video feed, audio and/or visual countdowns, etc.) to assist them in preparing for image capture.
The captured images are seamlessly integrated with existing applications (e.g., video conferencing, instant text messaging, etc.)
This would suggest that in the future, we could control additional aspects of our iPhone’s flash during photography as well as video conferencing.
The patent is especially interesting in that the methods defined around implementation of these techniques refer to display devices such as LCD and operating system Mac OS X.
This would suggest that if Apple were to implement techniques as put forth by this patent, future MacBooks could have the ability to stream light via a flash mechanism to get a good quality video conferencing experience.
As with many patents, most of these do not see the light of the day when it comes to being introduced into an actual Apple product.
Never the less, it feels good to know that Apple is always thinking about innovative ways to bring value to its customers!