Animoji, short for animated emoji, was a focal point of the iPhone X presentation at the Sept. 12 Apple event. The reactions were split, to be sure, as some considered the attention to this feature on a $1,000+ smartphone to be a bit, well ... too much.
As goofy as Animojis may seem at first, the tech behind them is undeniably impressive. In fact, it's possibly the most technically advanced feature of the iPhone X.
In his first impressions of the iPhone X, Steven Levy, WIRED tech writer and one of the first pre-release reviewers of the first iPhone ever, describes how he chooses to show off the Animojis to others as an introduction to what makes the iPhone X so interesting. The reason? It encapsulates the innovations in camera technology going on behind that notch.
These Animojis actually draw on some of the most technologically sophisticated advances of the iPhone X, the traits that make it unique: facial recognition, exotic sensors, an advanced camera, and powerful chips that drive graphics and machine learning.
It's not that Animojis are to the smartphone industry today as the original iPhone was back in 2007 — although they very well might be! — it's that what powers these cute facades of our own voices and actions is so impressive:
Face ID revolutionizes authentication on iPhone X, using a state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system made up of a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator, and is powered by A11 Bionic to accurately map and recognize a face. [...]
[...] Face ID projects more than 30,000 invisible IR dots. The IR image and dot pattern are pushed through neural networks to create a mathematical model of your face and send the data to the secure enclave to confirm a match, while adapting to physical changes in appearance over time. [...]
[...] The TrueDepth camera brings emoji to life in a fun new way with Animoji. Working with A11 Bionic, the TrueDepth camera captures and analyzes over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji.
Essentially, this camera system is smart. Animojis are really just the beginning — Apple's TrueDepth camera system has the potential to influence the way we think of and use smartphone camera systems. We may see ourselves relying on TrueDepth and the technologies that stem from it for more than just Face ID in the future. It will be exciting to watch how Apple and other technology companies embrace and utilize these camera systems.
What do you think? Does the iPhone X's new camera system impress you? Let us know in the comments below!