All the news we’ve heard about Amazon’s rumored smartphone has been kind of on the crazy side – mainly the idea that it’s going to employ multiple front-facing cameras to track users’ faces and provide glasses-free 3D visuals. But a new report today claims to have the scoop on just how Amazon has managed to pull off this technical feat: by relying on the innovations of a Japanese tech firm named Omron.

okaoAccording to a post on TechCrunch, Omron’s vision sensing technology – called “Okao Vision,” which, according to the company’s website, stands for “face vision” in Japanese – is the main force allowing Amazon’s smartphone to track users’ faces. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that Omron is known mostly for its industrial automation and healthcare devices: machines like blood pressure monitors (which are the majority of the videos that pop up when you search for the company on YouTube), electric power monitoring equipment, and the like. But the company’s website shows that Omron making a concerted effort to help machines and humans communicate for a better life.

As such, it seems that Omron is making a big push into creating technology for broader applications – and plugging facial recognition into a smartphone might be just the thing to increase the company’s profile.

For further corroboration of Omron’s involvement in the Amazon smartphone project, here’s a video of Omron’s lead engineer of face recognition technologies, Kozo Miriyama, explaining the company’s partnership with Softeq to create a proof-of-concept for the technology on a mobile platform:

How does this affect you, the possible Amazon smartphone customer? Well, it doesn’t. But it does help provide some context for what might wind up being the next big fad in the mobile industry. If Amazon’s smartphone takes off, chances are good we’ll see facial recognition and head tracking technology popping up in other smartphones down the line. Even if it doesn’t, it should be interesting to see whether or not Omron’s tech finds its way into other places further down the road.

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Stay tuned on June 18 to see Amazon finally unveil this thing.

[Source: TechCrunch]


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