At F8 2017, Facebook’s annual developer conference, the people behind the gigantic social networking entity have proved again that they are very much on artificial intelligence (AI) bandwagon. To prove their progress in this area, Facebook showed off that AI can easily do with a single camera what a lot of phones require a dual camera setup to execute – the virtual bokeh shot.
Dual camera setups are the trend in smartphones these days – and manufacturers are able to command a higher pricing on phones that have this latest photography trend. In fact, a lot of people questioned by the Samsung Galaxy S8 didn’t have it. But at F8, Facebook displayed that AI can actually do this trick with only one camera, and the applications of AI on digital imaging does not end there.
In an on-stage demo, Facebook showed that AI could replicate virtual bokeh – popularized in phones like the Huawei P9 and in the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait mode. Instead of offsetting two lenses for depth, Facebook uses AI to analyze a scene. From that single lens image, the AI figures out the depth of what’s in it and then does the blurring from its calculations. On the demo, the app they used had a slider to adjust the amount bokeh a user wants for the image.
But Facebook is saying that virtual bokeh via AI is just the beginning of what can be done in imaging. The company is eyeing augmented reality and computational photography as the platforms for which this AI can be unleashed. And Facebook is already inviting developers to get onboard with an open source implementation. This is an exciting time to be alive, yes?