More dual-camera smartphones could soon have the ability to capture depth data in real time without a depth sensor. That’s because Lucid, the company behind 3D cameras such as the LucidCam, is bringing the depth software from its cameras into smartphones. On Tuesday, June 26, Lucid announced that several manufacturers are now integrating the company’s software into mobile devices with dual cameras.
Bringing Lucid’s software into smartphones isn’t as straightforward as an app download or operating system update. Lucid cameras use two lenses that are spaced a specific distance apart in order to mimic the placement of human eyes. By taking data from two different viewpoints, the camera can recreate the scene in 3D or apply other depth effects. Dual-camera smartphones, however, have spacing and camera specifications that differ between models.
Lucid’s software will be custom tailored to each device’s optics during the manufacturing process through what the company is calling a “vision profile.” The company compares that profile to a pair of prescription glasses because it’s unique to the device’s “eyes” or lenses.
By integrating the software into mobile devices, Lucid says the device won’t need expensive hardware components such as depth sensors. Those sensors allow for 3D effects, but also drive up the price of making the phone and increase the size of the device.
“The way we as humans accurately perceive three dimensions and distances is not solely based on our two eyes but rather a combination of experience, learning, and inference,” said Lucid CEO Han Jin. “As chips and servers begin to approach the processing power of our brains, we can mimic this intelligence in software only, using A.I. and data on top of dual cameras.”
Smartphones with the Lucid software will gain 3D and depth sensing features that are enhanced with artificial intelligence, the company says. The software allows for real-time 3D and depth effects that could open possibilities for a number of different features, including the ability to livestream to a holographic display. Depth information is also required for features such as blurring the background in a photo.
“The depth information that is captured through the addition of the second camera is what separates a device from recommending you similar clothes to knowing much more, such as the precise size, shape, style, fit, and texture,” Jin said. “This leads to a much bigger benefit for consumers, and thus belongs in many more products than just the LucidCam.”
Lucid hasn’t shared exactly what models will use the technology, but said some mobile devices already use the software while more manufacturers are now integrating the software during the manufacturing process on upcoming devices.