Face detection has become the snapshot photographer’s invaluable assistant in ensuring tack-sharp faces, but soon it’ll be able to add two more job responsibilities to its resume: exposure metering and speedier autofocus. Two patents recently awarded to Apple show that future iOS cameras (perhaps the next iPhone?) will have standard camera features that rely much more on face detection technology. The first patent, titled “Dynamic exposure metering based on face detection“, allows the camera to automatically select faces as the primary target for metering. In more difficult situations — group shots or people standing in front of a crowd, for example — the camera will use factors such as “head proximity” to select the primary subject.
The second patent, titled “Auto focus speed enhancement using object recognition and resolution“, speeds up autofocus by using face detection to locate faces and then calculate their sizes. By comparing the sizes with a size-to-distance database, the camera can quickly select a focusing distance that brings the face(s) into focus.