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Virtual reality allows users to face up to a new look

Monday, September 05, 2011 - 02:55

Sept. 6 - Computer technologists in London have developed a virtual reality mirror that offers people who are unhappy with their looks an opportunity to have a peek into an alternative future. Jim Drury reports.

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STORY: Charlize Theron's eyes.....Naomi Campbell's cheekbones.......Angelina Jolie's lips.......they're all features often requested of plastic surgeons by cosmetic surgery patients. But the worry for those going under the knife is whether the eventual reality matches their idealised dream. Scientists in London believe they've developed the best way method of avoiding plastic surgery remorse. They've created a 3D 'virtual reality mirror' that changes the way a person looks in real time video by altering individual features on a PC. Student Vlado Kitanovski of Queen Mary, University of London is one of its developers. SOUNDBITE (English) PHD STUDENT AND CO-DESIGNER OF VIRTUAL REALITY PROGRAM, VLADO KITANOVSKI, SAYING: "Faces of different persons were used to build this statistical model of different appearance of faces so that it can adapt to every face which is unseen..........Then I'm using a 3D face tracker, which is actually simulating the pose of the face in every video frame, so that my algorithm knows exactly ......the pose and the position of facial features, so that later I'm using to synthesise a new view, modified view, of facial features by means of 2D warping." Professor Ebroul Izquierdo came up with the idea and a year ago put together a team to work on it. While a normal webcam-PC configuration shows your face as it is, a PC loaded with this software alters features on demand. SOUNDBITE (English) QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND CO-DESIGNER OF VIRTUAL REALITY PROGRAM, EBROUL IZQUIERDO, SAYING: "The advantage is that you can look at the mirror and see the face of the person as if you would be looking at a real mirror but with the enhanced, changed, nose and then the person can do all the local motions that you usually do with your nose, gestures, laughs, close eyes, and it will be seen in real time." The team believes the software will also help would-be patients get the approval of the one person whose views count as much as their own. SOUNDBITE (English) QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND CO-DESIGNER OF VIRTUAL REALITY PROGRAM, EBROUL IZQUIERDO, SAYING: "I guess it's going to help to get a better idea about how they are going to look and not only how they are going to look, but they could ask their wives or husbands to see what is going to happen..... 'well I'm going to enhance my nose and this is what you are going to see after that." Izquierdo and his team are putting the finishing touches to the program before making any commercial approaches. They're convinced that when their virtual reality mirror is released it will give face value a whole new meaning. Jim Drury, Reuters

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Virtual reality allows users to face up to a new look

Monday, September 05, 2011 - 02:55