MWC 2018

Why You Should Invest in a 3D Camera Smartphone With Xperi’s Gary Huang

The world doesn’t revolve around Samsung and Apple anymore. There are many other players in the game, the most notable ones coming from China. Their determination and forward-thinking nature translated into dozens of gadgets to choose from, especially smartphones. Understandably, it gets overwhelming sometimes. How do you choose the best phone out there? How do you know if it’s the right fit or the smart investment for you? We spoke to Gary Huang, the Senior Director of Business Development in Xperi, Greater China Region, about what is going to come next in terms of smartphones, especially for those of you who are addicted to the shutter button.

While AI and 5G are buzzing right now, there’s another equally promising tech in the realm of mobile imaging: 3D cameras. Since the 2000s, phone makers have fought to catch up with DSLRs. At first, they tried to obtain the same sharp, clean, professional effect by increasing the number of megapixels. “NOKIA even released an image sensor with 41 million pixels (MP)”, says Huang. “But the mobile phone has its limitation: its sensor differs dramatically from that of a professional camera.”

With 3D, we can imitate the lighting effect of a professional studio

That is why, today, OEMs are trying to compensate with artificial intelligence. And yet, Gary Huang believes users will see a real difference when they use a handset with “a 3D camera, or a stereo camera, which allows the camera to simulate human binocular vision, and therefore can capture three-dimensional images.”

What makes a 3D camera phone so special?

For one, its contribution to photo editing processes. There are already apps that enhance selfies by analyzing 2D data and correcting flaws or highlighting certain features. But with 3D, “we can imitate the lighting effect of a professional studio, say, by casting light from the left or right to produce shadows, for a three-dimensional effect.”

The same technology makes it easier to manipulate a picture without leaving the impression that something is off. For example, the user can take a portrait, “cutout the figure and integrate it in another background“.

Last but not least, think of the real benefits for security. In a time where nothing seems safe anymore and no one is un-hackable, having a 3D unlock system has become crucial. The technology that Apple integrated successfully and Vivo is improving upon can tell if the person trying to unlock a device is the owner or someone else, using a photo or a mask of the former.

With 5G around the corner – Gary believes we’ll see the first implementations in the second part of 2019 -, we can expect to see a performance boost when it comes to such next-gen developments.

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