The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application from Google that reveals that they're working on a computing device which could either be a laptop or some form of hybrid notebook tablet that will incorporate dual cameras. The dual cameras which could be used in different configurations, appear to have been keenly designed with video conferencing in mind: In fact, 3D video conferencing.
Google Focuses on Video Conferencing
Google's specific example goes like this: the computing notebook with the dual cameras could be used by a first user to produce a stereoscopic image of, for example, the first user during a video conference session when while in the notebook's stereoscopic mode. In some instances, the stereoscopic image could be displayed locally and/or sent to a remote computing device via the video conference session.
If a second user joins the video conferencing session in the same room as the first user, the notebook could be changed from a stereoscopic mode to that of a multi-image mode so that separate images of the first user and the second user could be used during the video conferencing session.
If the remote computer is not configured to process (e.g., handle) stereoscopic images related to the stereoscopic mode and/or multiple images related to the multi-image mode during the video conference session, the notebook could be changed to a single-image mode where only one image is captured and used during the video conference session.
According to Google's filing, the computing device 200 as illustrated in the patent figures below could be a traditional laptop-type device, smartphone, PDA, tablet, e-reader or more. The image modes could include, for example, the stereoscopic mode, a multi-image mode, a single-image mode and high dynamic range (HDR) mode. Of course stereoscopic images are also known as 3D images. 3D video conferencing could be an interesting development.
Google's patent FIG. 2A is diagram that illustrates a notebook (computing device) in a stereoscopic mode while patent FIG. 2B illustrates the notebook shown in FIG. 2A in a multi-image mode.
Google's patent FIG. 3 is diagram that illustrates a notebook in a different multi-image mode with one image in the rear of the notebook. Google's patent FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating a method for changing image modes of a notebook (or computing device).
In Google's example of this invention used in a video conferencing context, two people in one office could be both using the same notebook during the conference for the sake of simple communications. They could be sitting across the table from each other with one camera facing one participant and the other camera pointed to the back of the notebook to view the second participant. The party on the other end of the conference would simply see two side-by-side video boxes on their screen as if the individuals were actually sitting side by side. For home users it could be a handy application when there's only one household notebook.
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