iPhone to Get Accelerometer/Gyro-Facilitated Video Stabilization

Using the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, future iPhones could compensate for shaky video recordings with new software-based stabilization.

Apple’s interest in allowing users to record better video on their iPhone was revealed this week in a newly published patent application discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled “Accelerometer/Gyro-Facilitated Video Stabilization,” it describes how an iPhone might use motion sensing data to compensate for any jittering in a recorded video.

The filing notes that software-based video stabilization already exists and can improve the perceptual quality of a video sequence, but not without consequences. For example, current stabilization techniques can use up “considerable resources,” which can be particularly detrimental on a portable, battery-powered device like an iPhone.

In addition, while advanced algorithms can help offset any shakiness in a video, sometimes they can generate incorrect estimates that don’t actually improve video quality at all.

But now, consumer devices like the iPhone include gyroscopes and accelerometers, providing motion data for software on the device. While this data can be helpful, even it isn’t a perfect solution for video stabilization due to “noise” in the data, Apple said.

“Motion detection devices can provide metadata that indicates motion effects of a camera during video capture, however, even though the motion detectors provide data relating to global motion of the camera, the level of shakiness between frames is often comparable to the noise level of the motion detector data,” the filing reads. “Such high level of the noise in data prohibits (direct use) of accelerometer data in video stabilization.”