Apple files patent for enhanced user interactions with avatars

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180321826) for “image data for enhanced user interactions” when using avatars.

Avatars are used to represent the users of electronic devices. They can represent the appearance of a user or can represent an idealized or completely fictional representation of the user. Avatars can be then be associated with a user so that the appearance of the avatar to others indicates triggers an association or link with the user. 

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Many electronic devices today include sensors, such as image sensors. For example, some smartphones include image sensors on both the front and back of the phone and may even include multiple image sensors on the same side. These image sensors are typical used to capture still images and video, which can then be shared and viewed later. Apple wants its various devices to make it simpler to use their sensors to create more appealing avatars.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “The present disclosure generally relates to using avatars and image data for enhanced user interactions. In some examples, user status dependent avatars are generated and displayed with a message associated with the user status. In some examples, a device captures image information to scan an object to create a 3D model of the object. 

“The device determines an algorithm for the 3D model based on the capture image information and provides visual feedback on additional image data that is needed for the algorithm to build the 3D model. In some examples, an application's operation on a device is restricted based on whether an authorized user is identified as using the device based on captured image data. In some examples, depth data is used to combine two sets of image data.”

 Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.