It looks like Samsung could be developing a new take on video chatting. The company was recently awarded a patent that combines Samsung’s somewhat strange AR Emoji with video chatting. That’s right, sometime soon you could be video chatting with your friends as an AR Emoji.
The patent was first spotted by PatentlyMobile and aims to enable video chatting without needing to use up the bandwidth that is actually required to transmit live video. Samsung’s AR Emoji are basically its version of Apple’s Animoji.
“Existing video communication systems typically require high bandwidth and are inherently high latency as entire image sequences need to be generated and compressed before transmitting the signal to another device,” says the patent. In other words, when your data connection is a little spotty, your AR avatar could serve as a stand-in for your actual image — and a much lower bandwidth stand-in.
The new system could solve more than just a bandwidth issue. As noted in the patent, when you’re video chatting you rarely seem to be looking directly at whoever you’re chatting to because of the fact that the camera is normally located above or below the display. If it’s instead a virtual version of you that is chatting, the image can be corrected to make it seem like the user is looking directly at the other user.
The system could use a range of data to accurately represent the user on the display. For example, the patent describes using biometric sensors, including heart rate sensor, pupil dilation sensor, EKG sensor, and more — all to determine things like the emotional state of the user so that the system can accurately represent them on the other side of the video chat.
Of course, there are a few important things to note. Samsung first applied for the patent in March 2016, two years before the Samsung Galaxy S9 was launched. The Galaxy S9 is the phone that really kicked off Samsung’s AR Emoji efforts but the AR Emoji video chatting feature is nowhere to be seen. Just because Samsung was awarded the patent, that doesn’t mean that it will ever implement it — and if it does, there is no knowing when it will do so.