Facebook’s invention automatically takes a group selfie when you intend to do it

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A patent application of Facebook surfaced on the USPTO website yesterday that relates to automatic capture of group selfie images.

According to the invention, the Facebook camera app automatically captures selfie images without requiring the users to click on the capture button. Facebook does this by identifying the intention of the user for capturing a selfie image.

The intent of the user is identified by some indications like the user selecting the front camera of the smartphone, the Facebook app detecting the face of the user, an orientation range being associated with the smartphone while the user is trying to capture the selfie image, and/or the user holding the smartphone in a stable position as he is trying to capture the selfie image.

When the back camera is used, the intention of the user is known by determining whether the users are within the camera frame of the back camera and whether the smartphone is in a stable position or not.

Figure 4A from the Facebook’s patent application illustrates an example of a first image-capturing criterion for automatic capturing of a group selfie #402 using a back camera and an example audio feedback #408 in response to the first image-capturing criterion being not satisfied.

As depicted, four friends “Tara,” “Natasha,” “Philip,” and “Sam” are trying to capture a group selfie #402 using a back camera of a mobile device #400. Natasha is holding the mobile device #400 in her hand.

A camera application running on the mobile device #400 may detect that “Sam” is not fully present (as indicated by reference numeral #404) within the camera frame #406. In response to this detection, the camera application may play an audio message #408 specifically targeted to Sam such as “Sam, please move to your left.”

Once Sam follows the instructions given in the audio message #408, the camera application may determine all four friends to be located within the camera frame #406 (e.g., see FIG. 4B) and move to the determination of a second image-capturing criterion as discussed below in reference to FIG. 4B.

Figure 4B from the Facebook’s patent application illustrates an example of a second image-capturing criterion for automatic capturing of the group selfie #402 using the back camera and an example audio feedback #410 in response to the second image-capturing criterion being not satisfied.

As mentioned in figure 4A, Natasha is holding the mobile device #400 in her hand. At some times, her hand may be shaky thereby causing mobile device #400 to not be stable. In order for the second image-criterion to be satisfied and the group selfie #402 to be automatically captured, mobile device #400 needs to be in a stable position.

In the embodiment depicted in figure 4B, the camera application may determine mobile device #400 to be unstable. Responsive to determining an unstable state of mobile device #400, the camera application may play an audio message #410 such as “Please keep the phone stable.”

Once Natasha follows the instructions given in the audio message #410, the camera application may determine the mobile device #400 as being stable (i.e., the second image-capturing criterion to be satisfied) and move to the final step of providing an audible chime or message and starting a timer for image capture as discussed below in reference to figure 4C.

Figure 4C from the Facebook’s patent application illustrates an example of an audible chime #420 and start of a predefined timer #422 in response to determining the first and second image-capturing criteria to be satisfied, as discussed above in reference to figures 4A and 4B.

The audible chime #420 may be played via a speaker of the device #400. For example, the chime #420 may be played via speaker #424. As soon as chime #420 is played, a three second count-down timer #422 may be initiated that when ends (e.g., reaches zero) signals the back camera of the device #400 to capture the group selfie #402 of the four friends.

To identify the user, face detection is performed and the smartphone tries to match the face with social profiles stored in the social network database.  

Google recently added a feature to Pixel 3 that detects facial expressions using AI and automatically takes selfies.

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