Canon’s Patent Application Suggests AI-Powered Camera Control System Could Take Over Photographers’ Composition

Could Canon be planning to make the camera do all the work for photographers with an AI-powered system?

AI-powered everything seems to be the hot stuff that gets anything tech-related going these days, especially photography. We’ve come to an age where AI can tell you if your photos will make you Insta-famous or colorize your old black and white photos. Canon seems to be pushing the boundaries of photography with a patent application that involves research into an AI-powered camera control system.

Canon Watch has recently reported of patent application US20180077345, which discusses the said multi-camera predictive control system taking viewers’ interests into account and learning from user behavior. The patent also details a scenario where this system would be particularly applicable and useful: a sporting event.

Give it enough time and learning opportunities and the system would be able to recognize where the people in the stadium are looking, and what captures their interest at a given time. Considering these factors, it will then adjust its cameras to point in the same direction. The AI-powered system “learns” by using neural networks to track the viewer’s eyes and which player garner the most attention.

Canon Watch has the complete patent literature but these bits give us the gist of what it’s about:

A computer-implemented method and system of selecting a camera angle is described. The method comprises determining a visual fixation point of a viewer of a scene using eye gaze data from an eye gaze tracking device; detecting, from the eye gaze data, one or more saccades from the visual fixation point of the viewer, the one or more saccades indicating a one or more regions of future interest to the viewer; selecting, based on the detected one or more saccades, a region of the scene; and selecting a camera angle of a camera, the camera capturing video data of the selected region using the selected angle.

[…] A system, comprising: an eye gaze tracking device for detecting eye gaze data of a viewer of a scene; a multi-camera system configured to capture video data of the scene; a memory for storing data and a computer readable medium; and a processor coupled to the memory for executing a computer program, the program having instructions for: detecting, using the eye gaze tracking data, a visual fixation point of the viewer and one or more saccades of the viewer relative to the visual fixation point; determining an object of interest in the scene based on at least the detected one or more saccades of the viewer, the object of interest being determined to have increasing relevance to the viewer of the scene; and selecting a camera of the multi-camera system, the selected camera having a field of view including the determined object of interest in the scene, the second camera capturing video data of the determined object of interest.

Could an AI-powered system potentially replace sports photographers and cameramen in charge of sports footage? We’d like to know what you think about where Canon is possibly going with this patent application!

Images via Canon Watch