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Fujifilm unveils face-tracking camera for self-portrait photos

Fujifilm Corp has developed a digital camera that automatically tracks a person and takes his/her pictures. A prototype of the camera, “New Concept Camera,” was exhibited last week at photokina 2014, one of the world’s largest trade shows on cameras, in Cologne, Germany.

“We aimed to make a personal photographer,” a developer of the camera said. “I wanted to make a camera that takes videos and pictures of me actively moving as if they were taken by a person.”

Taking a picture of oneself has become popular and is now known as a “Selfie.” However, because people take images of themselves while holding a camera, their compositions are fixed. Also, it is difficult to take images while the user is moving. Though Sony developed the “Party Shot” digital camera platform, which automatically searches for people and takes their pictures, the purpose of the platform was to randomly take pictures of many subjects.

The new camera developed by Fujifilm takes images of a subject after being placed somewhere. Its camera unit tracks the user and continuously takes his/her pictures. As a result, it is possible to capture, for example, natural facial expressions of the user playing sports. It tracks the subject with a face recognition function, etc and keeps it in the frame by moving the camera unit with a built-in motor.

At this point, the camera detects only the face of the user. Therefore, when the subject turns its back, it can no longer be tracked. But this problem can be solved by using the “moving object tracking technology,” which has already been commercialized for digital cameras. The technology estimates the subject’s direction of movement based on its trajectory.

A subject is selected by using a tablet computer that is connected to the camera via wireless LAN. Also, it is possible to perform zooming, panning and tilting with the tablet.

Fujifilm said that the exhibited camera is a prototype. And the company will consider commercializing it after seeing the reactions of visitors to the show.


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