Everyone is guilty of staring down at the screen during a FaceTime call instead of looking at the camera. While doing this allows users to see who they’re talking to, it means the other person can’t enjoy the intimacy of a face-to-face conversation.
A new feature, “FaceTime Attention Correction,” relies on live image manipulation to address the problem. It uses the popular ARKit tool to accomplish the feat. For now, the feature is only available in the developer beta for iOS 13. However, it should be available as part of the public beta sometime next week.
Guys – "FaceTime Attention Correction" in iOS 13 beta 3 is wild.
— Will Sigmon (@WSig) July 2, 2019
Apple’s ARKit has been the backbone for many projects, including company-built creations and those developed by third parties. From crafting AR pets to virtual Teslas to Animojis, the kit allows digital designers to innovate in many ways.
Now, ARKit is powering FaceTime Attention Correction by mapping a user’s face and adjusting the position of their eyes. This fix will make it appear like someone is looking directly at the front-facing camera throughout a FaceTime call.
While the effect is pretty impressive, it isn’t perfect. Some users already pointed out warped areas on their faces where the AR was adjusting.
Though the feature is undoubtedly useful, some people may be embarrassed if their call partner finds out they are using AR to make eye contact. Fortunately, FaceTimers can choose to turn off the function if they wish. For those who don’t mind it, the artificial eye contact greatly improves the quality of the call.
As of now, the new feature is very limited. This is partly because masses of users don’t have access to it yet. As such, they can’t push FaceTime Attention Correction to its limit. However, its reveal has left many wondering how powerful the tool actually is.
Currently, the feature is only working on the iPhone XS and XS Max. Considering these are some of the top-end phones on the market, many people will miss out if it only works on select devices. For users without one of these phones, there is no official word on what devices it will work on.
Meanwhile, people are curious to see if the feature works when more than one person is on the call. Since FaceTime is a popular way for families to connect, it would be nice to make eye contact with everyone in the shot.
For now, users will have to wait to see everything that FaceTime Attention Correction will offer. Regardless, the tool is a significant advancement for practical AR and shows that impactful changes don’t always have to be huge.