Facial Recognition in Games

Home » Tracking Eyes, Mouth and Face Orientation

The same technology used in the movie "Avatar" tracks users facial expressions in real-time using only a standard webcam! How is this even possible? At Keio University, Japan, Professor Yasue Mitsukura developed a software for checking which way a person is facing and how their facial expression changes. This technology boasts both high speed and high precision, using your typical PC and camera. This is great news; I was waiting for the implementation of facial recognition in games for years...

This new awesome technology can be used by computer graphics animation hobbyists for start, to talk over Skype would be my suggestion, on Web apps that display a character instead of the person's face, and for getting characters move in real time at events. For e.g. imagine you're at BlizzCon (a convention held by Blizzard Entertainment yearly to celebrate their games) and that Diablo himself answers questions from the audience. How cool would that be?!?

Anyway, getting back to our facial recognition in games subject, to detect and track faces this new technology uses the so-called time-series signal processing. What this means is that it tracks key facial points, including the eyes, mouth and nose, at high speed with precision. The white dots in the video track the face, while the red lines indicate the orientation of the face. So you can see that the software is detecting the face properly, mirroring the movement of the mouth, eyes and orientation.

Surprisingly, this Avatar system also analyzes the shape of a person's expression so it can accurately mirror how the eyebrows and mouth are moving, and whether the person is laughing, angry, or surprised. That would add incredible depth to MMORPG games (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars and EverQuest.

If until now the Avatar technology was not accessible to ordinary users like you and me, the Japanese researches promise to change that. Please stand by for a facial recognition software arriving nearby your area sometime this year.

SOEmote: EverQuest 2 Facial Recognition System

Here's something I'm sure World of Warcraft fans are dieing to have in their little big world: facial recognition. SONY already started implementing facial recognition and voice-modulation software into their games, and EverQuest 2 is the first candidate.

EverQuest 2 facial recognition technology will match the player's expression with their character's through a regular webcam. Check out the SoEmote (Sony Online Emote?) video below...

The point to all this effort is to give the players a more immersive role playing experience. And I think they did a great job. Just shut up and take my money SONY! :)

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