Patent published on November 9, 2023

Snap's New Patent Could Make Virtual Fitting Easier with Spectacles

One conundrum that has puzzled tech wizards for years is the accurate measurement of a person's face using a single front-facing camera on a smartphone. This may seem like a small issue, but its implications are massive, especially in the e-commerce and virtual "try-on" space where precision is key and image scale ambiguity can cause misfit or unsatisfactory purchases.

According to patent number US20230360251A1, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, might have a solution to this persistent issue. The patent, titled "Monocular Camera Defocus Face Measuring," describes an innovative way to leverage the amount of defocus in captured images of a user's face. This technique enables the estimation of the true size of the face, which is vital for virtual augmented reality shopping experiences.

Snap's potentially groundbreaking technology is not just about measuring the width or length of your face; it’s more than that. It contends with the problem of depth. Think about how your nose juts out a bit from your cheeks, or how your eyes are set back into your skull. These complex facial contours baffle the usual single camera setup on our phones. Snap's solution uses the defocus perspective to understand how deep or shallow various facial features are. A detailed 'map' of your face can, therefore, be constructed which is far more accurate and comprehensive than the ‘flat’ vision that single camera encounters.

This novel technology promises a future wherein your virtual augmented reality shopping experience is exceedingly precise. Imagine wanting to buy a pair of glasses or jewellery online. With Snap's new technology, you could use your phone's camera to measure your face, allowing the website to suggest sizes that would fit you perfectly. Inaccurate purchases and return hassles could be substantially reduced.

However, it's crucial to remember, this is just a patent for now. There is no assurance it will ever make it beyond the paperwork into our hands, or should we say, onto our faces. So, while we keep our fingers crossed for a future draped in perfect-fitting virtual spectacles, today, we must make do with judging sizes on the screen. Let's wait and watch!

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