It doesn’t matter where your webcam is positioned, it’s always going to be offset from the person you’re talking to. The end result is we hardly ever look people in the eye when talking to them over video chat. Microsoft has created an intelligent solution, though.
As spotted by Liliputing, the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build (20175) announcement contains details of a new feature Microsoft is calling “Eye Contact.” It uses artificial intelligence to “adjust your gaze on video calls so you appear to be looking directly in the camera.” So there’s no need to remember to look at the webcam instead of the person on your screen, which no one ever does as it’s simply not natural.
The one drawback of Eye Contact, at least for now, is the fact it’s limited to only working on the Surface Pro X. That’s because the Pro X contains Microsoft’s SQ1 ARM processor, which it developed in partnership with Qualcomm and includes the “artificial intelligence capabilities” required for the gaze adjustment to work, according to Microsoft. If you do own a Pro X and have access to this latest Windows Preview Build, then the feature can be turned on via the Surface app. After that, it should work with any video app using the webcam.
Considering Intel’s x86 processors are capable of handling AI-intensive video games, it seems likely Microsoft will eventually expand the Eye Contact feature to other models of its Surface range and hopefully to Windows 10 in general. After that, we can all look at the people we are talking to on video chat and know that they are also seeing us looking directly at them, albeit thanks to AI.