Webcam tech gives real-time makeover

December 27, 2007 | 08:50

Tags: #makeover #modify #real-time #webcam

Companies: #japan

A Japanese news report found on YouTube has given a fascinating insight into a new technology for real-time image manipulation. Fancy a haircut, or perhaps a new tattoo? The software is capable of modifying your appearance to give a completely realistic image that follows your every movement.

Viewable here, the short video shows a roving reporter in a standard-issue suit getting the full treatment: within seconds of sitting down he’s got a hairstyle and outfit that wouldn’t look amiss on the lead in a Square Enix game. Every few seconds the image changes, and at no point is the illusion anything less than perfect.

Okay, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how good the technology actually is from a low resolution YouTube clip but it certainly seems a far cry from your average webcam freeware. While practical uses are perhaps not immediately obvious – other than to perhaps attempt to convince your boss that you’re ill during a suspicious video sick call during the World Cup – the technology could certainly see use for online gaming.

Imagine if World of Warcraft had a video window in the top corner that allowed you to see the people you were battling with: instead of the t-shirt clad warriors actually sat in front of the camera you would be able to see the orcs and elves you’ve come to expect. In-game video chatting without breaking immersion. I’m sold.

There’s currently no news on when – or even if – the technology is likely to become anything more than a YouTube oddity, but I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on this one.

What do you think: enough to convince you to turn your webcam on during games, or does it only get used when you’re chatting to lonely housewives? Your comments are welcomed, as always, via the forums.
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