Two decades into the new millennium, it is pretty apparent: hardware without software and smarts is nothing more than a gimmick. Apple’s product launch event today was a timely reminder of this new hardware reality. And I’m glad to say Apple delivered. The new iMac video cameras and the new iPad Pro’s front-facing cameras are a big step toward our visual future.
Ever since the pandemic began, and we started to live most of our lives on Zoom and its video conferencing cousins, we have complained about the poor quality of video cameras inside our computers. Apple computers, especially.
We mostly put up with poor quality, though some of us bought a gadget to connect our bigger and better camera to our computers. Or if you are like me, you used the camera on the iPhone via Camo App — after all, the iPhone camera stack is way better than any standalone streaming camera. Whatever the hack, we all were sick and tired of substandard front-facing cameras on our computers.
Throughout this pandemic experience, I have wondered why we don’t have computers with cameras that can use computer vision and depth perception to create a better video-calling experience. After all, the necessary technology building blocks are all here.
Computer vision algorithms are progressing by the day. Computers in our pockets, bags, and homes are power-packed with computing power, machine learning chips, and GPUs. Tiny cameras and sensors — you know, the ones they use in billions of smartphones— are (Read more...)