Apple Patent Allows Camera to Select Best Shot

Apple has filed an application for a patent that would see the iPhone's camera capturing a series of images of the same shot and then automatically selecting the best one.

Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent is titled, "Image Capturing Device Having Continuous Image Capture." It would allow a smartphone camera to capture and process a batch of quick images of the same shot.

Such technology has arrived in recent years, and Apple plans to have the camera automatically picking the best shot out of the batch, which will be based on exposure times and other predetermined variables.

Shutter lag is one of the flaws found in the majority of smartphone cameras. It causes a delay between the time a user presses the button to capture the photo and the time the photo is taken. Consequently, it leads to blurry photos, accompanied by human errors such as not holding the camera steady.

Apple's patent would allow iPhone owners to keep their finger on the camera button in order to take a series of consecutive shots until the finger is released. These images would then be stored in a buffer, with the technology reviewing the buffered images and choosing the best one via several factors.

"The method can automatically select one of the buffered images based on one or more parameters. For example, the selection may be based on an exposure time of one of the buffered images and optionally an image quality parameter (e.g., image contrast)," the patent application reads. "Alternatively, the selection may be based only on the image quality parameter. The sequence of images can be captured just prior to or concurrently with receiving the user request. The method can include automatically displaying the selected image on the display of the image capturing device."

Apple recently applied for an image-based authentication patent, while Google is also working on similar technology in terms of a multi-flash camera, which sees a series of shots merging together in order to create the best possible image.

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  • blazorthon
    "Technology would ontinuously captures and stores images in a buffer."

    Three errors in not just one sentence, but in the bold sentence? Come on.

    Technology would continuously capture and store images in a buffer.

    More on topic: This is by far not the most unreasonable thing to patent that Apple has tried to patent IMO, but I still don't think that it's something that should be patented. The method that Apple uses for it may be patent-worthy if not the same as is used by anyone else with similar functionality.
  • master_chen
    >Apple's patent allows camera to select best cumshot.
    Goddammit! Not even single breath without Apple!
  • rdc85
    It had similarity with "rewind shot" in BB Z10... (the different is when in apple it's automatically)

    I don't know, but i feel they rip off someones idea.....
  • _Cosmin_
    And this is different from HTC ONE or SAMSUNG GALAXY S3 in which way ? Oh... they already implemented it (of course) and apple is just an ideea patent as usual !
  • Th3Exiled
    Too bad that this feature has already been implemented on several phones already, my note II being one. Then again it probably won't stop the system from awarding it to them.
  • kristi_metal
    Yes, S3 and HTC One already have a technology similarto this. S3 takes 8 burst shots and selects the best picture for you. Again, Apple has the idea of pateting this and nest year Apple will sue Samsung for stealing their idea, cause they patented
  • saturnus
    No idea what the US patent office are doing. There is a previous patent on this technology which is already licensed to several manufacturers.
  • djfv
    Nikon BSS (best shot selector) ? It has been around for quite some time on their point-and-shoot cameras. To quote Wiki:
    The Best Shot Selector is a special feature on this camera. With BSS on, you can hold down the shutter button, and the camera will take ten pictures. Then, the camera will decide which one is the clearest and will save that one only.
  • blazorthon
    For everyone saying that this is previous art, I have to ask, can any of you prove that Apple's method is the same as those used in the others?
  • A flow chart should not be patentable. The exact implementation can be copyrighted, but just a flow chart to describe a series of stages cannot be the basis of a patent. It is almost as silly as patent page turning animation. Apple does indeed has a very distorted sense of what can be patented. Too bad US patent office also does no better.