Blur!

Early in February, Microsoft launched a feature to Skype (to all users) that they already had in Microsoft Teams. It’s a fantastic, practical use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) where, with a simple click, you can blur the background and have you as the focal point of the video call. It’s remarkably useful and executed beautifully.

According to Microsoft, “Background blur in Skype and Teams uses artificial intelligence (AI)—trained in human form detection—to keep you in focus during your call. This technology is also trained to detect your hair, hands, and arms, making a call with background blur just as relaxed and easy as a regular video call”.

Microsoft’s long-time rival, Apple announced something on similar lines (and similar intent) in the middle of February. It’s a feature called Depth Control, on the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR (only in the 2018 iPhone lineup) where you can adjust the bokeh effect on backgrounds before or after you shoot. According to Apple, “you can turn a cute portrait of two kids into a stunning portrait of one kid”!

They even made a funny, almost self-deprecating video to explain the feature.

A week later, they shared another video to showcase the power of bokeh effect!

Interestingly, Microsoft’s blur and Apple’s bokeh aim for the same thing – focus on the crux of the photo/video while blurring out the background human(s)! While the former uses AI to automatically blur the background, the latter lets the users be the judge to purposefully blur/bokeh those that they do not want to focus on, in the photograph.

There are technical differences between blur and bokeh, though .

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