What is Amazon Fire Phone's Dynamic Perspective display and how does it work?
The Amazon Fire Phone, after much rumour, is finally out in the world. As a mobile handset the spec sheet confirms it's pretty good, but nothing special, until the Dynamic Perspective is mentioned. This is a world first.
Amazon's Dynamic Perspective creates a virtual 3D image that makes looking at the display like looking through a window into the depths of reality.
Skip to 40 minutes and 19 seconds in the video below to see the unveiling of Dynamic Perspective at the Amazon Fire Phone announcement.
Dynamic Perspective maps
One obvious use is in the maps app. Buildings can be displayed as 3D objects which the user is able to look at from different perspectives. So, like in reality, the user can change perspective, in this case by moving head or phone, to see the object from different sides.
Also in maps the new Dynamic Perspective allows for layers. So if a location arrow is blocking a road name on the map users can tilt the screen to see "under" the arrow and read the blocked street name. It's an intuitive way to navigate the virtual world in the natural way it's done in the real world, by moving perspective.
Since the phone knows the user's perspective it can also be used to vary what's on screen. So to display annotations on place names, over the map, the phone can be titled to make them appear, then tilted back to make them vanish. A simple, natural way to interact with the map.
Dynamic perspective shopping
It's also useful for shopping, on Amazon's store, of course. Moving the phone will allow users to tilt to shift images displayed on the screen, like seeing an outfit from different sides.
Reading with Dynamic Perspective
This tilt recognition also works to allow for scrolling. So tilting the phone up and down "autoscrolls" the page. A bit like Samsung tried with its S View, but this appears to actually work. Users can even find a nice scrolling speed and lock it so it keeps scrolling passed as they read. Tap the thumb down to stop the scrolling and let go to continue to move it, just as if it were a real scrolling document.
Music navigation with Dynamic Perspective
Within Amazon's music player users are able to tilt the phone in different directions to access various menus. Twist to the left and the categories come up with Playlists, Artists, Songs and so on. The centre panel is the album cover and play controls for the song being churned out. And a twist to the right panel and there is a scrolling page of synchronised lyrics - a karaoke singer's dream. It's also useful for finding a certain lyrical part of the song and skipping straight to it.
Gaming with Dynamic Perspective
For 2D gaming it's possible to tilt the phone and look ahead down the level to see what lies ahead, rather than simply seeing the head-on perspective.
Future potential in this area is huge, and thanks to the open SDK we should, hopefully, start seeing games that use Dynamic Perspective as part of gameplay soon.
How does Dynamic Perspective work?
The Amazon Fire Phone is able to track the user's head in real-time. That way it is able to create multiple perspective images rendered at 60 frames per second. But how does it spot the head?
Four cameras are built into the front of the phone at the corners each with a 120-degree field of view so they can see the user even with lots of movement. Multiple cameras offer stereovision so depth can be measured to know how far the user is from the phone. But because of people's digits often covering corners there are four cameras so even when holding two the other two take over.
Dynamic Perspective even works in the dark thanks to infrared lights that can be seen by the cameras. The cameras also use global shutters meaning they are ten times more power efficient that normal snappers.
Thanks to Amazon offering a Dynamic Perspective SDK developers will be able to use these smarts to create anything they can think of. The future for Dynamic Perspective is very exciting indeed.