Patent published on November 2, 2023

Patent Might Make Eye Contact Easier in Microsoft Teams Calls

Video calls have become the new normal, serving as our gateway to everything from business meetings to family reunions. However, maintaining eye contact during these calls tends to be awkward and difficult, leading to less engaging and impersonal conversations. This is the core problem that the new patent by Microsoft Technology Licensing, titled 'EYE CONTACT ASSISTANCE IN VIDEO CONFERENCE' (patent number: US20230353398A1), aims to solve.

This problem essentially stems from the location of the webcam and the computer screen. While communicating via video calls, we naturally tend to look at the image of the person on the screen, rather than the webcam. This discrepancy disrupts the perception of eye contact, making us come off aloof or disinterested.

Microsoft's patent aims to address this issue by applying clever camera detections and screen manipulations. The system figures out where the camera is, and then displays a unique image close to that location. This would prompt us to look directly at the camera when talking, emulating the eye contact effect and creating a more intimate digital conversation experience.

Imagine a business environment, where video conferences play a crucial role in global collaborations. With this patented invention, corporate communication could receive a major boost. Teams spread across different continents would engage in discussions as if they’re sitting across the table, maximizing the impact of their interactions.

In an educational setting, online learning could benefit from this patent. Enhanced eye contact from educators can maintain students' attention more effectively, leading to improved engagement and learning outcomes.

Microsoft Teams, a product that sits at the heart of remote collaborations, could be one of the products to benefit from this invention. The patent's Advantages and Figures further highlight the innovative solution provided by Microsoft and the potential enhancements it offers to video conferencing experiences.

However, it's important to note that this is a patent and there’s no guarantee if and when it will hit the market. The feasibility of such an invention in real-world use-cases is subjected to numerous factors, including technological advancements and market demands.

P.S. Theoretically, this new patent promises to revolutionize our digital communication experiences, promising a future where video calls may feel more 'in-person'. However, like all patents, it is an idea that may or may not morph into an accessible tool. Our digital interactions are still evolving, and innovations like these fuel our march towards a more connected world.

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