Facebook taps AI to fix crooked 360-degree panoramic photos

Taking a panoramic photo with your phone is easy, but taking a high-quality 360-degree panorama with your phone isn't. The process typically involves opening an app and slowly rotating the phone in a circle while holding the handset steady. Though these apps provide a straight line and on-screen guidance to encourage users to maintain a proper horizon, most people fail to do that. The results are tilted, crooked panoramas that make VR viewing less than comfortable.

At its Scale Conference yesterday, Facebook revealed that it is developing artificial intelligence to correct this issue, tapping deep neural networks to recognize when an uploaded 360-degree panorama has a tilt issue. Presumably very severe tilt issues will be beyond repair, but a slight drop in the horizon line isn't something that can't be salvaged.

The system, upon determining the horizon in the photo, will work to bring it into proper alignment, straightening the image so that it is more pleasant and immersive to view with virtual reality glasses. The technology is based on an image recognition system called AlexNet.

According to Venture Beat, Facebook's panoramic correction technology is still a work in progress and hasn't yet been launched on the user product. However, it sounds like such a system may one day automatically process and adjust panoramas once they're uploaded to the platform. This may prove to be a key technology that makes Facebook a more attractive place for users who like sharing 360-degree content but lack the technical skill to make it look good on their own.

SOURCE: Venture Beat