Apple’s FaceID is inspired heavily from Microsoft Kinect

8Moore’s law is fascinating. Technology is replicated and evolved at blistering speed and the most current example is the Apple iPhone X. According to
The Verge
, the top notch in the
bezel-less iPhone X
has technology similar to the Microsoft Kinect.

Back in 2009, Microsoft wowed users by unveiling the Kinect, a motion-sensing input device for the Xbox 360. Using an array of sensors, Kinect could understand a user’s movements and transform them into gaming inputs.

Kinect used an IR emitter, a colour sensor, an IR depth sensor and a tilt motor to do this. Fast forward to 2017, Apple put all these sensors (sans the tilt motor) into the tiny top notch of the iPhone X.

The first Kinect was developed in tandem with an Israeli firm named PrimeSense which pioneered the dot projecting grid of depth sensing used by Microsoft Kinect and the iPhone X. The Kinect uses an IR projector that projects some 30,000 invisible laser dots on to a scene to measure depth. The Kinect had 2,048 levels of distinct depth sensitivity.

Apple acquired PrimeSense in 2013 and we see the result in the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X. But unlike the Kinect which was used to track motion, Apple deployed the tech to scan faces. Using the tech, the
iPhone X can make a fully animated 3D scan of your face in real time
along with measuring the lighting conditions of the face to improve the AR experience.

The Verge states that when it launched, the Kinect was
one of the hottest consumer electronics device
which in turn boosted studies related to machine vision and robotics. The depth camera on the Kinect 2.0 used in Xbox One was built in-house by Microsoft. It had a
much higher accuracy
and could recognise user’s faces as well as their heart rates.

Intel too developed RealSense in 2015, its own depth sensing tech for Windows Hello. Android’s Project Tango used depth-sensing cameras in the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus Zenfone AR also leveraged similar depth sensing tech for AR.

The iPhone X proves just how fast technology evolves. From a giant box housing the tech in the original Xbox 360, Apple has shrunk it to just a notch on the display.