Any way Apple could make a "Facing you" screen orientation sensor?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Piggie, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I don't suppose there is any iPad owner that's not had to pick the device up / angle it up to get the screen to turn around to be the right way.

    If the iPad is flat, it's got no way to know which way you are looking at it.

    I was wondering if it's possible to detect the location of the nearest person (the user) and rotate the screen around accordingly even though it's still flat?

    Strangely enough, I think this might be somewhat possible with a front mounted camera if the angle of view was wide enough to see your face.

    Just wondered if its technically possible for it to know where you are and the right way to twist the screen for you, without you having to pick the iPad up?
  2. colmaclean macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Why not just perform a little tilt in your direction? You're going to have to touch the iPad to use it anyway.

    Even if it was technically feasible, I can imagine it messing up intermittently and becoming an extremely annoying feature!
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Not sure why Apple would spend time or effort to attempt a technical solution for a user problem.

    My Macbook Pro's keyboard doesn't know what I'm going to type; perhaps they could also design a sensor that would take care of that problem as well?
  4. Fiddler70 macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2010
    Glad you guys are not in charge of product development. The OP has a great point. I am sure in the future a simple sensor could determine where the user is.

    It's so funny how someone that comes up with a new idea is directly bashed. I am involved in product development and have learnt to listen to the input of every user.

    The fact that at this moment is seems hard to implement (the sensor/camera might interfere with the gyroscope) does not make it less likely that version 7 or 8 might have this feature.

    And just touching the screen is a very different interaction with the iPad than lifting it and tilting it.

    Nothing Apple makes is perfect yet... some stuff comes close though :)
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    So I lay the iPad on a table, and I rotate it by 180 degrees so my wife sitting opposite can see what's on the screen. And the iPad detects that I'm the nearest person and rotates the screen right back. :rolleyes:
  6. Matth345 macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Solving a user problem is the point of product design! And I also think its a good idea.
  7. Fiddler70, Nov 16, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010

    Fiddler70 macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2010
    You are underestimating how smart technology will be in future. At this moment if you turn the ipad too fast on a table a number of things can happen... it most likely will slip off the table ;)

    The OP just asked if it would be possible, and I think the answer would be yes. Desirable? At this moment probably not as tech is still relatively dumb.

    In future, I think there is no question these tricks will be available, and many others that we don't expect. Software might be able to decide that a user suddenly turning the device by that much would like to view the content upside down. Someone will have to do some creative thinking though. And that requires taking risks and finding solutions.
  8. Fiddler70 macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2010
    I hope that was a joke! Since when did Apple stop making technical solutions for user problems? :eek: It's what computers used to be before they became entertainment centers. :)
  9. PhazonUK macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    Wouldn't it be much better if they made it so that you place a finger on 2 opposite corners of the screen (bottom left, top right) and just move them to the other corners and it would rotate the screen. the iPod Nano rotates...
  10. Dan-- macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2008
    All of the following is made up, but illustrates some logic that could be applied:

    If (Screen.JustWoken() and
        Gyro.LevelIndicator() < AUTO_ROTATION_THRESHOLD)
       if (FrontCamera.FindFace(faceOrientation))
       // otherwise do nothing
    Apple does know how to find faces in images. Getting the orientation from the image should be pretty straightforward after that. You just need to align the eyes with the text. (Eyes over mouth and nose).
  11. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Well, most new digital cameras track and adjust focus based on face detection. They even draw boxes around faces they see in frame. If the computational requirements can be handled by $150 consumer grade camera "CPU's", it shouldn't be too much for the iPad's processor to handle.

    Logitech Webcams have a very large resolution sensor, and "pan" to center the speaker's face. (they do that via cropping).

    With a fish-eye lens and a high enough resolution image sensor, you could track a face or other object entirely via software, and remove the "curved" distortion of the lens via software as well.*

    So, yeah, seems like there are several ways to achieve this without having to mount a camera on a servo.

    * I hereby release this invention to the public domain, using this forum's date and time stamp to establish the invention date. :D
  12. colmaclean macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    While we're on the subject of future innovations, how about retina scanning?

    It would mean the iPad would know which part of the screen you're looking at - triggering an effect rather like a "mouseover" event.

    Et voila - Flash on the iPad. ;)
  13. gnychis macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    they would need to use the camera to detect a face
  14. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    This is not a bad idea... it could also negate the need for orientation lock.

    Technically it's possible too. Maybe they'll do it, you never know.
  15. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies.

    It's only that almost every time I pick the iPad up, it seems to start the wrong way round (if you know what I mean)

    Yes, I just tilt it up to it's the right way round of course, but it just struck me how handy it would be if it could know where I was and how I was looking and make sure the screen was correct for me.

    Perhaps needs to scan me so it keeps level with my eyes and my nose below my eyes and then it will always be right :)

    I know you have to tilt it more one way than the other to get the screen to turn, and someone else said this, but these is some reason for this that I can't remember.

    It's no big deal, just thought would be cool that it knew where the user was, even if you were playing a game with your partner on either side of the table, you leaned forward for your turn, it noticed this and swung the screen around as you got a little closer.
  16. colinwil macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2010
    Reading, UK
    That's a neat idea. But it might still give problems - eg. when reading in bed, propped up on one arm with the iPad on the bed next to you.

    I think they should ditch screen auto-rotation all together. It sounds like a cool feature, but in practice its more annoying than its worth.

    Instead, I reckon they should make rotation work like on the new iPod Nano - you twist your fingers on the screen to rotate.
  17. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    I really like this idea. If they did something like this, then the orientation lock wouldn't even be an issue!
  18. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    Front facing camera + facial recognition software using Gestalt principles to determine users orientation to the iPad.

    But only if laid completely flat, otherwise it'd mess up your day.
  19. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    It would not be 100% secure, but cool if you could tell the iPad to recognise you using it's front camera, and not respond to anyone else it see's input unless you add their face to the list of faces allowed to use the device.

    Of course, if you were involved in an accident where you head got chopped off, then you'd not be able to use your own iPad any more which is the only flaw in my thinking ;)
  20. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    Even cooler: it could unlock automatically when it recognizes the owner on cam.

    Overall, the idea is quite feasible with all the facial recognition stuff Apple's done in the past, coupled with the likelihood of a front camera in iPad 2. I don't usually like the ideas average Apple fans come up with, but I quite like this one. Mainly because it feels so much like an Apple'y solution.
  21. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Plus when it spots your wifes face coming into view, it can flip from the sexy naked porn star on screen to a picture of a spread sheet / household accounts, even if you are not around at the time!

Share This Page