A small group of five Swiss engineers have been developing a program which uses a low-cost three dimensional camera to capture, process and integrate your facial expressions onto a digital avatar. This technology, following in the popularity of X-Box’s Kinect, seeks to make the faux realities of video games even more “real” for those inhabiting them.
Since the first virtual games which sought to mimic human characters the trouble of smooth and realistic movement has been the largest issue– most notably in facial expression. Copying the way in which a person sways and walks has been nearly solved, with today’s technology it was a simple solution of design and algorithm programming. To create believable facial expressions, however, there are thousands of variables to consider. Not only are there the more obvious things like “smiling” and “raising eyebrows” but also the many small twitches and movements we make without even knowing it. The solution, it seems, is not to feign these emotions at all but to take the cues directly from its user, in real time, and translate them onto their screen.