You can now add fake eye contact to the list of ways Augmented Reality improves our lives.
In the official release of iOS 13 in the fall, FaceTime will have a new feature called Attention Capture that corrects users. The look seems like they're keeping eye contact with participants at the other end of the video call.
Obviously, the secret sauce for this magic trick is nothing more than the native augmented reality toolkit from Apple, ARKit. According to Dave Schukin, co-founder of Observant AI, the new Attention Capture feature uses ARKit's face tracking features and the iPhone's TrueDepth camera's depth-sensing capabilities to virtually change the user's eye position.
Schukin, whose company is developing a technology that tracks the driver's gaze, reported the discovery on Twitter. When he puts an object in front of his face and wraps his eyes, it becomes clear that FaceTime uses a virtual mask to create the illusion of undivided attention.
In response to another Twitter user, Schukin confirms that the effect is basically like a snapchat filter, but more specifically thanks to the iPhone X series TrueDepth camera.
If we have room for a different analogy, then it's kind of a high-tech version Draw eyes on your eyelids so your teacher does not believe you are sleeping in the classroom.
It's also a very clever application of augmented reality in general, where the ultimate benefit is not the technology itself, but the result that generates it.
In other words, while facial filters are fun, give me something really useful, like attention capture!