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Is video calling as an AR emoji the next step for Samsung?

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Tech brands are looking to give users new ways to express themselves.
Tech brands are looking to give users new ways to express themselves.

From presenting information to sharing stories online, multimedia has become the dominant tool of communication on smartphones over the past years.

According to a report, and patent, it looks as though Samsung may be working on a way to bring its recently introduced AR emojis into the world of video chatting, taking on multiple big tech brands all in one swoop.
Samsung released its new flagship, the Galaxy S9 in March 2018 along with ‘AR Emoji’, the brand’s answer to Apple’s Animoji, a 3D character used to express a user’s feelings or ideas.

Samsung states in a release, “We thought in an ideal world, you would be able to teleport yourself and share how you feel with others then and there.

“So we wanted to come up with a way to replicate that experience but with the simplest tools possible, having seen so many people use messaging apps to communicate even with people right next to them and rely heavily on emojis rather than text.”

“The focus quickly became how to create an image of the user and deliver multiple facial expressions and emotions along with that.”

To accomplish this, Samsung decided to leverage the Galaxy S9/S9+’s camera technology.

But according to the NY Times, general vibes towards the new “fun” feature were not great. “It’s like taking a photo and a cartoony 3-D image of yourself and mashing them together. The result is a phenomenon that robotics experts describe as ‘uncanny valley’— the image looks fake, but it also bears close resemblance to a person and causes psychological discomfort,” NY Times wrote in an article.

While a partnership with Disney may address this issue for some, giving Samsung’s new feature some non-human faces to choose from including childhood favorites, Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as Donald Duck, a patent granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by PatentlyMobile could build further interest for the feature. The website, along with other Android enthusiasts, have picked apart the tech jargon in the filing and come to the conclusion that Samsung may bring AR emoji to video calling.

DigitalTrends reported that “when your data connection is a little spotty, your AR avatar could serve as a stand-in for your actual image — and a much lower bandwidth stand-in.” A bonus for many large smartphone markets, such as India, who may not have strong internet connectivity.

The patent also describes using biometric sensors, such as heart rate sensor, pupil dilation sensor, EKG sensor, which could “determine things like the emotional state of the user so that the system can accurately represent them on the other side of the video chat,” wrote DigitalTrends.

This could be a next step for the company, who recently wrote “multimedia has become the dominant tool of communication on smartphones over the past years” and “through updates and other developments” they will be “continually looking for ways to help you simply be you”.

However, it should be noted that the patent was first applied in March 2016 and although granted, it’s not sure the company will ever use it.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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