Apple Patent Builds Group Selfies from Socially Distant Groups

Synthetic group selfies is an idea whose time has come

If Apple builds this into a future OS, you'll be creating synthetic group photos from submitted photos and video streams; it's a perfect group shot solution when we can't gather closer than 6 ft. apart.

Group Selfie
 Getty Images

Remember the group hug and then the 'let's capture the moment!' group photo directly after? Right. The coronavirus pandemic put those moments in our rearview mirror. Apple, however, has been working on a solution, one that predates COVID-19, in which iPhone (and other Apple device) users can cobble together group photos out of submitted images and streamed video.

How does this work: In a recently granted patent spotted by Patently Apple, Apple describes a capturing a synthetic group selfie from multiple devices and automatically incorporating them into a natural-looking group photo. Someone might start the process by taking a selfie and sending a request to other potential participants. They can respond with their own selfie, a stored image, or video.

Synthetic Group Selfie Interface
One of the patent images from Apple's Synthetic Group Selfie Interface idea.  Apple

Making it perfect: The system would automatically remove backgrounds from submitted headshots and allow you to edit the composition by moving heads around to ensure everyone's face can be seen in the group photo.

It's cool, but: Anyone with a smidgen of Photoshop skills could create a similar photo. In addition, this patent was originally submitted back in July 2018 and the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally granted it in April, which means it wasn't created in response to our inability to gather in socially-connected groups. Finally, patents are simply ideas a company wants to protect and does not guarantee they'll ever become a product.

Bottom line: An system for collecting and building on-the-fly group selfies from disparate images and video sounds like something that would fit perfectly in the next version of iOS. Guess we'll just have to wait and see if Apple squeezes it into the group portrait for iOS 14.

Via: PatentlyApple

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