iOS beta includes ARKit feature to let Facetime users maintain eye contact

Apple has built a feature into the latest beta of iOS 13 where video calling app Facetime automatically lowers the eye position to give the impression that users are looking at each other. This is done via ARKit.

Because the face of the person a user is calling is below the camera’s position, the user often looks down. This function fixes that. Apple calls it Attention Correction in the iOS 13 Beta 3 release notes. The only mention from its manufacturer is that there is a problem with the feature turning off in Facetime.

Entrepreneur Dave Schukin claims that the feature works through ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality software. “It uses ARKit to create a depth map and position of the face and adjusts the eyes accordingly.” He shows this with a video in which he runs a pair of spectacles along his face. It can be seen that the software distorts the image of the straight leg. That also happens with sunglasses, so he shows toont. The distortion is in line with the way the software pulls the eyes up.

It looks like Apple is preparing the feature for release in iOS 13. Attention Correction only works on the iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and iPad Pro 2018. So it looks like it’s a feature that works with ARKit 3, because that is the version that only works on those devices. Apple announced ARKit 3 at WWDC, but did not mention such a feature at the time.

Watching the screen in the camera pp (left) and in Facetime. Source: Wii Sigma