Although I have to say I have a wildly different idea about what constitutes a ‘problem’. Making eye contact on Skype ain’t one of them.
Originally posted on Gigaom:
Let’s face it: video chatting with someone is awkward. While we’ve all gotten used to darting our eyes between the camera and the screen, so there’s no real way to make eye contact with the person you’re talking with. But instead of cheating it out of politeness, a team of researchers has found a low-cost way to bring eye-contact into video chatting — using a Microsoft Kinect.
Claudia Kuster, a doctoral student at the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich, has coordinated a team of researchers to help solve the eye-contact problem without creating an expensive and over-the-top rig. The Kinect offers crucial facial recognition technology, which can determine the orientation of a person’s face and tilts the image to adjust for the angle. So, even if you’re looking down at the screen or up at the camera, the Kinect will recognize a shift and adapt accordingly.
While this is nifty in itself, tilting an image wholesale can adjust the entire depth of an image, making it look warped and unnatural when done incorrectly. Kuster’s team shows off its true cleverness in the software meant to handle the adjusted images, which actually works in two parts. First, the “foreground image” (re: the person in the shot) is separated from the background and then altered. The new image is then grafted back on to the regular background, effectively tilting the face without throwing the entire image.