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Software Brings Eye Contact To Video Chat, With a Little Help From Kinect

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the and-makes-you-look-really-funny-when-it-bugs-out dept.

Communications 111

Zothecula writes "Skype has been around for ten years now. Once a science fiction dream, the video calling service has 300 million users making two billion minutes of video calls a day. One problem: most of them can't look each other in the eye. Claudia Kuster, a doctoral student at the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich, and her team are developing a way to bring eye contact to Skype and similar video services with software that alters the caller's on-screen image to give the illusion that they're looking straight at the camera."

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there's always looking right at the camera (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 7 months ago | (#44749269)

Which is hardly a natural act, so you should position your camera just above your screen if possible because that's where you're looking, at your screen. :)

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (3, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 7 months ago | (#44749537)

Then you're not looking the other person in the eyes. Hence no "eye-contact."

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749605)

If you're looking at the camera, then you're not seeing the other person, which defeats the purpose of a video chat.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | about 7 months ago | (#44749775)

No where in the article does it say they are looking directly at the camera. And if you look at the photos they are showing, you should automatically realize that the viewer is looking away from the camera (presumably at the screen displaying the other person's face), and the image is adjusted to give the illusion that the viewer is looking into the camera (thus achieving digital eye contact). Come on folks, this is Slashdot. We used to be smart. Let's bring that back.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 7 months ago | (#44750893)

Come on folks, this is Slashdot. We used to be smart.

You must be using a different slashdot than me because that's not my experience at all.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | about 7 months ago | (#44751101)

Yeah... and I didn't help myself for not fully reading their comment. Read the article and not the comments, I should be banned, right?

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (4, Funny)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#44749933)

If both people are only looking at the camera, why bother even displaying a picture at all? Nobody is looking at it... Except the NSA perhaps.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 months ago | (#44750065)

You should position a small camera directly in front of the screen between the eyes of the person on screen.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 7 months ago | (#44751227)

Why isn't this done for video conferencing systems. would it be difficult to have a tiny camera embedded in the center of the screen? A small spot on the screen shouldn't be entirely too distracting. Would work great for this type of setup: http://www.zdnet.com/atlassian-builds-portal-for-video-chat-1339327884/ [zdnet.com]

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44751617)

What happens if the person is sitting to the side or you're talking to multiple people using one camera?

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750439)

You mean like how Every Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, macintosh, and dell has the camera on their laptops and all in one pc's?

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#44750511)

Back in 1999 my boss hung up the phone after several minutes of yelling at her kid. She sighed and said, "Remember Brian, when we were kids and they told us that in the year 2000 everyone would have phones where they could see the other person?"

I agreed that yes, I did remember that. I said that with MSN Messenger and some of the other new software we were actually getting pretty close.

She said, "I don't so much want to see the other person, as I want to be able to reach through and SLAP them!" The inventor of that will be be a gizillionaire overnight.

Re:there's always looking right at the camera (1)

chihowa (366380) | about 7 months ago | (#44750593)

They're all looking up, though, which would indicate that the camera is below the screen. Every setup I've seen puts the camera atop the screen, which makes more sense with regards to eye contact as the contact's eyes will be closer to the camera (and filming from slightly above is more flattering than filming from slightly below).

I've done a little video chatting and it never looks as dramatically awkward as the pictures they show. You can tell that the other person is looking at the screen and not the camera, but it isn't as exaggerated as it appears in their setup. If you drag the window as close as you can to the camera, the situation gets much better.

Beta Preview (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749293)


Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749307)

Well, that isn't freaky at all.

Aversion (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44749385)

I have an aversion to maintaining eye contact with people I don't completely trust, you insensitive clod!

Even if it is fake.

Re:Aversion (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 7 months ago | (#44749467)

You just have to not activate the feature yourself. On the other hand, your peers will be relieved to have a more natural communication. I had a professor that while speaking with anyone never makes eye contact, looking to a corner of the ceiling... I cannot describe how disturbing that was.

Re:Aversion (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44749669)

I disagree, not looking at people in the eye during chat isn't weird at all. It's the way that video chat is done.

By permitting the computer to change your eyes, you solve one problem, while taking away the meaning with which your eyes communicate with people. Suddenly, you can't just roll your eyes without telling the computer that you want to roll your eyes as the computer isn't going to know that it should break eye contact.

If you happen to live in a culture where eye contact is maintained through out, that might be fine, but for those of us that are used to maintaining eye contact for short periods and breaking it as a part of effective communication, this is just going to make that more complicated.

Re:Aversion (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 7 months ago | (#44750461)

I haven't video called much and it took a little bit of getting used to but then was OK. At appropriate times I'll look directly into the camera and the other person sees that. And vice versa. Works, and only a little awkward. This new software is nifty but unsettling in its own way. Until I use it I'll reserve judgement.

Re:Aversion (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44750517)

I've never had a problem with it, I just look at the screen as one is intended and focus on communicating. It's really freaky to be on video chat and focusing on the camera, it sounds like you were sitting too close to a camera with a screen that's too large. With my 11.6" screen, the difference between looking at the camera and looking at the screen is minimal.

If you've got a larger screen then you're likely going to have to sit further away in order for the effect to disappear.

Still, it's a damned sight better than having my computer spying on me via Kinnect.

Re:Aversion (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 7 months ago | (#44751973)

Didn't say I had a problem with it, only that it was a bit of getting used to. Camera is in bezel of laptop's 17" screen; sometimes I'll be leaning back in my office chair, other times leaning forward to type some thing, once with my nose to the screen, "What are you doing?" "Seeing if you got more wrinkles that I do." At a comfortable viewing distance there's still around 5 degrees of separation eyes-to-camera, so that's the "getting used to." Also, with several people, we'll each look directly at the camera from time to time, for emphasis, solidarity, whatever. I guess it's a human thing and we're all a bit different in how we do things.

Unless the Kinect is phoning home, that part wouldn't bother me. Using Skype? Now that bothers me, so I use alternatives.

Re:Aversion (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44752507)

This sounds a lot like people prior to video cameras becoming ubiquitous. If you've ever seen a Beatles film you'll know what I mean, it's all awkward because they're paying a ton of attention to the camera rather than just ignoring it and going about their business.

The video conferencing equipment is the same way, you're not supposed to be changing your behavior to suit the device, you're supposed to be looking on screen. I'm not sure how that would look weird, because it's never looked weird on any device I've used.

And yeah, Kinnect is great if you don't mind MS or random crackers invading your privacy, at least my webcam has a light on, and the laptop is supposed to be closed when not in use.

Re:Aversion (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 7 months ago | (#44753273)

I'm not sure about the "supposed to" so much; so far people and I just do what seems natural to us, but I think I know what you mean.

If one could know that the Kinect is locked down then I'm all for it just 'cuz it's a nifty toy at the least. What these folks have done with it is way cool whether one wishes to use it or no.

My laptop cam has a light also but I'm not sophisticated enough to rest totally assured that the software I use reports correctly as to whether it and the microphone are on or off - offhand, I don't even recall if the light is wired directly in circuit with the cam so it can't be spoofed. Drat, like I really needed something more to look into right now.

Re:Aversion (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44749945)

I had a professor that while speaking with anyone never makes eye contact, looking to a corner of the ceiling... I cannot describe how disturbing that was.

Having grown up very close to a deaf person, I've developed the tendency to stare at people's mouths when they speak.

You want disturbing? Try learning to lip read.

and automatcly adds makeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749387)

nice new world :/

Sometimes the easy way is the better way (4, Interesting)

3D-nut (687652) | about 7 months ago | (#44749391)

Why not put a half-silvered mirror (plate beamsplitter) at a 45 degree angle to the screen, a piece of black velvet beyond the beamsplitter as a light trap, and point the camera so it sees your face reflected in the glass? Like a teleprompter.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 7 months ago | (#44749437)

Why not put a half-silvered mirror (plate beamsplitter) at a 45 degree angle to the screen, a piece of black velvet beyond the beamsplitter as a light trap, and point the camera so it sees your face reflected in the glass? Like a teleprompter.

Not a bad idea really. Software could remove the ghostly reflected face probably, and it would be a far better use of software than manufacturing where your eye is looking. That just sounds like it would look creepy.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749979)

There is no ghostly reflected face. It's done [schnittpunkt.de] on TV news and weather all the time. The only problems are the large device size and reduced light going into the camera lens.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750469)

Large size? I have one for my camera the size of an iphone.... which is because it uses an iphone for the teleprompter and the headphones remote as a text scroll control.

Works great even in bright sunlight and are common for use by many TV stations in the field now.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750531)

Neat. Can you pipe the camera's output into your phone for video chatting?

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750639)

on an android phone? yes. but why do that. Use the iphone as a display and pipe the video from the laptop to the phone, then the video from the camera to the laptop. two wires and all is done. but has limited use. nobody outside of podcast recording care about eye line and eye contact.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749471)

Aside from the requirement for custom monitors in all such systems, nothing.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (2)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 7 months ago | (#44749479)

Terrific idea, but you'd have a pretty hard time getting that setup into a laptop bezel. Video-conferencing didn't really seem to catch on en masse until the cameras came built into every piece of hardware sold. As a dedicated device, I could see this idea working really well, but I don't think people are willing to sacrifice price and portability just to be able to see someone they're talking to. Of course, there could be exceptions, such as when people are doing high-value business transactions, where eye contact can make or break a deal.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750487)

It doesnt make or break a deal. I sell high end AV systems (They cost more than your house and your parents house) that use $15,000 or more Pro Videoconference systems. and they dont maintain eye contact. the camera is either mounted above or below the screen. and when you are using a 80" LCD the camera is WAY up there.

Re:Sometimes the easy way is the better way (2)

Platinumrat (1166135) | about 7 months ago | (#44751079)

Why not put 4 cameras in each corner and use software to combine the image in such a way that the senders image is in the centre?


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749407)

You shitbirds supported Obama and the left nearly to a man, and your hatred for Bush and any non-progressive is without question.

And now we see Obama and the left, along with thier yes-men RINOs gunning for WAR in Syria like it's nobidies business.

And from the Slashdot Socialist Shitbirds.... crickets.

Cognitive Dissonance Much?

You stupid Warmongering scumbags. I truly hate you.


"There's been a lot of talk about the absence of a strong and visible anti-war movement, the way there was during the George W. Bush Presidency.

While there are protests against intervention in Syria, in general the movement seems to be a lot weaker under Obama.

If you guessed that this had something to do with the fact that Obama is a Democrat... you'd be correct!

In 2011, Professors Michael T. Heaney and Fabio Rojas published a study titled: The Partisan Dynamics of Contention: Demobilization Of The Antiwar Movement In The United States 2007-2009 which looked at nearly 6,000 surveys of anti-war demonstrators between January 2007 and December 2009.

This one chart basically tells the whole story. The percentage of Democrats attending anti-war protests collapsed at the end of 2008, and in early 2009."

Re:NO WAR FOR BIG OIL (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749713)

Calling Obama "the left" is a joke.

a Canadian.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749831)

Your assertion of a thing does not make the thing a truth, you must use facts, logic and present an argument. You have done none of these things.

Obama is a leftist - that is a Western leftist, better described as a socialist. He supports and is backed by the unions. He is a collectivist and supports big government, progressive - punitative taxation and redistribution of the wealth. For every problem he sees there is a govenrment oriented solution at hand that requires more laws, more regulations, more fees and beauracrats and lower individual liberties and rights.

That my Canadian friend is what we call a socialist.

Do you deny these things? Are you trying to assert he is a conservative? If so you are a fool.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749915)

Your psychiatrist called, he wanted to remind you to take your meds.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750015)

Ay yes the mark of the truly ill informed socialist when confronted with facts and logic.

Attack, change the subject, ridicule.

Right out of the Alinsky playbook now isn't it?

You aren't actually worth the response but I point this out for the benefit of the other readers. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

You are enablers of evil and that makes you evil.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750327)

The mark of a neotard is thinking this has anything to do with eye contact in video chat ...


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750481)

Go fuck yourself you fucking fuckface fucker. I will comment on what I want when I want and how I want.

You want to appear to be someone with half a fucking clue how about you justify this act of war by Braky O'Fuckface as righteous and good for the nation and the world; it is not, this is the act of a petulant child and is being covered up by the willing media and the lapdogs in congress. To what end I ask?

Children and civilians will be killed by the upcoming missile attack and in the past that never stopped Leftists and the world community from calling the POTUS who ordered the attack a war criminal who should be tried at the Hague.

Another question which will never be asked by the MFM (delenda est):

"Mr. Kerry, what is the President's plan if Russia, China, Iran, or some combination of those three decide to react with force- considering all three have issued harshly worded warnings against any US Intervention?"

This is why you never let liberals attempt to run foreign policy - they are all about party and not victory for the USA. They will manage to royally fuck this up and I feel so sorry for any US military person that may be caught in the cross-fire.

What's frightening is that the Obama foreign policy/military/intelligence brain trust doesn't have just one general who's dumb as a post. No, no, that would be manageable if there were actually a few smart people around to leaven the mix.

Instead, there's took-too-many-punches Dempsey, and there's also Secretary of State Mr. Ed The Talking Horse.

There's the perpetually befuddled Susan Rice ("I wasn't lying about Benghazi, I'm just professionally incompetent at my job.")

Coupled to Samantha ("Israel delenda est") Power, whose sole purpose in public life is a massive obsession with destroying the only country that is even remotely close to being an American ally in the Middle East.

There's James Clapper, who has now perjured himself so many times in front of the Congress that it's absolutely stunning they haven't formally held him in contempt.

There's James Brennan, who actually is out there on the record claiming, incredibly, that the fanatical jihadis of the Muslim Brotherhood are a "largely secular organization".

There's Tom Donilon the sleazeball Fannie Mae lobbyist/lawyer with absolutely no national security experience of any sort before being elevated to a top level national security post.

This entire car stuffed full of clowns is being overseen by The Won ("Hawaii is in Asia") and by his underboss Joey Choo-Choo.

Let's remember that Joey Choo-Choo was specifically selected by Obama for his "extensive foreign policy experience". Such as serving wine at diplomatic dinners to teetotalling legations of Muslim mullahs from Iran.

This won't end well. This can't POSSIBLY end well. This is the most inept and ignorant foreign policy team in the entire history of the nation. Giving them warmaking powers is like handing a three-year-old a grenade with the pin out.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750529)

Sea kelp.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750765)


"One of the many unintended consequences of the political crusade for increased homeownership among minorities, and low-income people in general, has been a housing boom and bust that left many foreclosed homes that had to be rented, because there were no longer enough qualified buyers.

The repercussions did not stop there. Many homeowners have discovered that when renters replace homeowners as their neighbors, the neighborhood as a whole can suffer.

The physical upkeep of the neighborhood, on which everyone's home values depend, tends to decline. "Who's going to paint the outside of a rented house?" one resident was quoted as saying in a recent New York Times story.

Renters also tend to be of a lower socioeconomic level than homeowners. They are also less likely to join neighborhood groups, including neighborhood watches to keep an eye out for crime. In some cases, renters have introduced unsavory or illegal activities into family-oriented communities of homeowners that had not had such activities before.

None of this should be surprising. Individuals and groups of all sorts have always differed from one another in many ways, throughout centuries of history and in countries around the world. Left to themselves, people tend to sort themselves out into communities of like-minded neighbors.

This has been so obvious that only the intelligentsia could misconstrue it -- and only ideologues could devote themselves to crusading against people's efforts to live and associate with other people who share their values and habits.

Quite aside from the question of whose values and habits may be better is the question of the effects of people living cheek by jowl with other people who put very different values on noise, politeness, education and other things that make for good or bad relations between neighbors. People with children to protect are especially concerned about who lives next door or down the street.

But such mundane matters often get brushed aside by ideological crusaders out to change the world to fit their own vision. When the world fails to conform to their vision, then it seems obvious to the ideologues that it is the world that is wrong, not that their vision is uninformed or unrealistic.

One of the political consequences of such attitudes is the current crusade of Attorney General Eric Holder to force various communities to become more "inclusive" in terms of which races and classes of people they contain.

Undaunted by a long history of disasters when third parties try to mix and match people, or prescribe what kind of housing is best, they act as if this time it has to work.

It doesn't matter how many government housing projects that began with lofty rhetoric and heady visions have ended with these expensive projects being demolished with explosives, in the wake of social catastrophes that made these places unlivable.

To those with the crusading mentality, failure only means that they should try, try again -- at other people's expense, including not only the taxpayers but also those who lives have been disrupted, or even made miserable and dangerous, by previous bright ideas of third parties who pay no price for being wrong.

This headstrong dogmatism and grab for power is not confined to housing. Attorney General Holder is also taking legal action against the state of Louisiana for having so many charter schools, on grounds that these schools do not mix and match the races the way that public schools are supposed to.

The fact that those charter schools which are successful in educating low-income and minority students that the public schools fail to educate are giving these youngsters a shot at a decent life that they are not likely to get elsewhere does not deter the ideological crusaders.

Nor does it deter the politicians who are serving the interests of the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to provide jobs for their members, even if that means a poor education and poor prospects in life for generations of minority students.

All this ideological self-indulgence and cynical political activity is washed down with lofty rhetoric about "compassion," "inclusion" and the like. "


Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750509)

What is funnier is the moron thinks that GW bush was a peace loving rights fighting for president. The REpubs here have short term memory problems as they forget that that scumbag president was the single most unamerican president ever. He signed the PATRIOT act.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750581)

Hey genuis get a fucing clue, Bush is out, it's over, finito. Go fuck yourself.

It's Obama's deal here, his policies, his people, his agenda we are fucking discussing.

And here's my prediction: Obama tries for regime change. Syria and Iran attack Israel. Israel either launches a preemptive strike against both nations or retaliates in a way they haven't since 1967. The Muslims leave Israel alone for another fifty or so years, but now we have Afghanistan where Syria once was.

That "police action" in Mali? We'll be seeing tons more of those, but it'll be the Arab League and US/NATO special forces instead of regular US troops.

We've got another decade or so of all-out war in the region ahead of us.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749813)

I may approve of what you say, but I will fight to the death to keep you from saying it here (i.e. "-1 off topic")


Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749935)

It may well be offtopic but you must admit it is disingenuious of the Slashdot Socialist crowd to praise the Nobel Peace Prize winner all day long when he rules as a king over the people in things you openly support, and then to remain silent as he prepares to wage war in the name of "right" when there is absolutely no state interest in doing so.

Democrats are opportunists, they hate "war" when it serves their interests only, this is cowardice and evil. The RINO is just along for the ride and to share in the power they have stolen from the people.

And the shitbirds here support the whole thing lock, stock and barrell.

I killed christopher 'aempirei' abad with my 5" di (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749489)

Cowabunga, dude!

And now you're going to die wearing that stupid little hat. How does it feel!?

You got caught with the seat of your pants flying down and now everyone laughs at your little picopenis on a daily basis.

Microchipping a fellow hacker just because you can't sniff out your own? Hilariously inept.

Throwing a well-known, contributing veteran of the hack/trollscene into a mental institution just because you had a hangover and forgot to take your klonopin? Over the top.

Having a wanton disregard for the history of the internet, the hackscene, trollscene and everything about humanity in general? Get a clue. Your holier-than-thou attitude can screw back off to the 1980's.

Yes, folks, christopher 'ambient empire' abad has been bitchtagging and torturing anyone that walks by him just because, well, "I feel like it!"

Yes, folks, christopher 'ambient empire' abad fails to understand the first rule of the U.S. system: you can always just buy people off with cash.
We've been talking to your friends, coworkers and they've been telling us what a lazy, unappreciative little shit you are. Not to mention a sociopath of the lowest order.

You won the birth lottery and coasted your way to the top of the U.S. system on a skateboard. Now it's going to be a fun ride when we push your little deck the way back down.

You are nothing but a barking little dog who got caught sneaking up the backstairs into the big people's club and now you're being thrown out the window.

Your last thought as you realize nothing of value will be lost when your head cracks on the floor of a 12x12 supermax prison cell: "I like to copy from my 1337 civics textbook."

Sayanora, sucker!

Malaclypse the Younger

Creepy (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about 7 months ago | (#44749497)

Hey! Eyes up here!

Re:Creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749705)

It get's even creepier if they add auto-zoom effects at random points during the call...

Re:Creepy (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750521)

Bourne Supremecy cam effects? That would rock.... well actually easy, just install the camera on a paint shaker.

Don't mess with the eyes (5, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#44749593)

They're putting out software that changes what your eyes look like so that it looks like you're not looking up a little bit. This will not work. It will make people's eyes look wrong and creepy. We are perfectly attuned to looking at eyes and anything that's a bit off will get noticed immediately. Start by fixing people's teeth or something but not the eyes.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#44749745)

Apparently they're actually moving the whole head to look like it's aiming at the camera, not just making the eyes look like they're aiming at the camera.

In most of the images, it looks reasonable, but in a few it just looks a bit off somehow.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#44749973)

Whatever. Tilting the face, changing angles and trying to make the eyes look like they're pointed a different direction will just look wrong. It sounds like wonderful technology but everyone's going to try it for five minutes and then turn it off because it looks creepy.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#44750071)

I'm completely with you. I was just pointing out what some people might see as a big difference between what you were talking about and what was actually happening. As I said, a couple of their sample images looked a bit off already, so I imagine it would look creepy as hell in practice.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 7 months ago | (#44751913)

In most of the images, it looks reasonable, but in a few it just looks a bit off somehow.

I'd call the latter a bit of an understatement: http://www.gizmag.com/skype-eye-contact/28843/pictures#3 [gizmag.com]
The left guy in the right picture looks like he's changed race or even species.

Considering that these are undoubtedly the cherrypicked best results and that the example images are low resolution, I'd say that the technology needs some more work. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the idea in itself.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750375)

yeah, sounds like they will fall into the uncanny valley.

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

naoursla (99850) | about 7 months ago | (#44750391)

The Kinect gets 3D information. They can take the polygons mapped with the video image and apply small rotation from the picture of the other person onthe screen to the camera. You'll get some artifacts where you are exposing areas that the camera can't see, but maybe those can be filled in with surrounding pixels so you don't notice so much.

Might work if people look at screen not camera (1)

Big_Breaker (190457) | about 7 months ago | (#44750539)

Didn't RTFA of course but the smart way to do this is to start with video of someone actually looking at the person on the screen rather than the camera. That way camera sees an off angle but "correct" picture. that picture is then rotated so the remote video looks "right".

Re:Don't mess with the eyes (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | about 7 months ago | (#44750545)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QrnwoO1-8A&list=TLtms-Tz7YPQk [youtube.com]

Given this demo from two years ago using a single hacked Kinect I have to believe that the technology is only going to improve. As long as the camera isn't occluded the 3D point data can be used to map sections of the 2D image onto a mesh created from the 3D point cloud. Then the camera can be virtually re-positioned and the scene rendered. Most of this is pretty easy using commodity hardware rendering engines.

Soulskill captitalizes the K and the I in Kinect.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749615)

...with little help from the shift key!

Re:Soulskill captitalizes the K and the I in Kinec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750281)

OOPS! lol, stupid small font on my computer! It *is* a lower-case i.

In other news, uhhh yeah, I think the US is attacking Syria.

Uncanny valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749681)

I notice the article has only still images. There's no way video using this technique looks anything less than unsettling.

And why is everyone looking up in the pictures? Who has the camera below their monitor?

Re:Uncanny valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749755)

Thanks, I got my "uncanny valley" reference for today's game of internet buzzword bingo earlier than usual.

Re:Uncanny valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44752861)

There is nothing wrong with using a well-known, well-defined phrase that encapsulates and conveys a clearly, commonly understood idea.

Do you have a better word?

300 million users (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 7 months ago | (#44749735)

And still no decent alternative. Well how about it, science?!

Re:300 million users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750507)

If you are too lazy to create a paper-based OTP, you deserved to be fucked by the Imperium. Do you seriously think this nice life comes for free ? Certainly not - this life comes with a dog's leash. In exchange, you get convenient dog food every single fucking day.

Wolves, they are free. And more often hungry than not.

If you want to breathe some free air - drop all the electronic shit, grab a backpack, a knife, a small tent and live and travel like the homeless do. You will learn unique skills of evading the henchmen of the Imperium. You will even be able to travel your entire continent uncontrolled. Just make sure they think you are a homeless person.

Wolves can carry massive amounts of data these days in their filthy fur. Sometimes wolves can even use telephones as soon as they quickly fade away again.

That isn't eye contact (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about 7 months ago | (#44749781)

Altering the image doesn't provide eye contact. Eye contact is a palpable connection between two people, not just me staring into the eyes of an image. Unless it communicates the "connection" (for lack of a better word) created when you actually look someone in the eye, it's just a gimmick.

Re:That isn't eye contact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750109)

Seems like a reasonable term to describe the issue. I sure knew what they were talking about.

Re:That isn't eye contact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750417)

No, you see, don't you get it? This is Skype, who is owned by Microsoft, using a Kinect, also Microsoft, so therefore this idea is terrible and stupid and bad, even if only because the terminology isn't precisely what bkr1_2k thinks it should mean!

Re:That isn't eye contact (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 7 months ago | (#44753765)

I use Skype all the time, and even pay for SkypeOut in spite of the money now going to one of my least favourite corporations on the planet.

That being said, this whole "eye contact" business sounds like a solution in search of a problem, brought on by someone's petty obsession with something that we other 600 million users don't seem to be bothered by.

Occultation problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749787)

This trick using stereoscopic view (Kinect here) to modify the video, has been evaluated before. The issue is that it is trying to solve a "minor" problem by introducing major artefacts (let be clear eye gazing is annoying, but the video with it is still good quality: just see the number of users using it as-is).
Indeed consider two pillars. Suppose that between those pillars is hidden Alice: by hidden I mean neither the right camera nor the left camera can see Alice, occulted by each pillar.
Now I want to create the center image which is basically what this software does. Actually it is even more challenging: it uses only one view to create the center image ! How can it possibly recreate Alice ? It can't: Alice is lost information.
Ok now generalize: the pillars are your arm and your body. What is between them ? Especially when you move. Or vertically, what is behind your head ? Suppose you are conferencing with many people in the same room: two people are the two pillars. What is between them ?
So in any case this software has to invent something, exactly as your brain does when something is hidden at the same time by your two hands (for instance). But your brain prevent you from focusing on this invention (just do the experience).
This invention will be ugly very often Or to prevent that, you will have to design this heuristic to be adapted to special cases which will make it a toy.
I did this study in 2006 for a big Telco, and I am pretty sure that vendors (Tandberg, Cisco, ...) made the same study with the same conclusion even before me: no professional solution is proposed using this kind of software to overcome eye gazing videoconferencing problems, for a reason.


Re:Occultation problem (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 7 months ago | (#44750555)

The Kinect does not use stereoscopy. It projects a IR laser grid (well, randomized) and then uses a single monochrome IR camera to see the grid and calculates depth from that. There are two cameras in the Kinect, an RGB camera and a monochrome IR camera, but only one is used for depth.

Looking someone straight in the eye (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 7 months ago | (#44749791)

I don't think it's natural to always look someone straight in the eye. When I do it people get squirmish.

Re:Looking someone straight in the eye: eye roll (2)

optikos (1187213) | about 7 months ago | (#44749953)

It is quite natural for me to roll my eyes upward, when I must suffer fools. This software will inhibit my far-end image from doing so.

Re:Looking someone straight in the eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750427)

I don't think it's natural to always look someone straight in the eye. When I do it people get squirmish.

Well it's a fine line between "eye contact" and "maniacal glare of a serial killer" so maybe practice in a mirror a bit?

Re:Looking someone straight in the eye (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 7 months ago | (#44750513)

You might want to try looking at them in the eyes and not the eye. Hint, use both your eyes and look at them in 2.5d instead of 2d.

Tiny Embedded Cameras (1)

jomama717 (779243) | about 7 months ago | (#44749923)

The only way to solve this is to embed the screen with a grid of cameras clustered around the center, and allow the software to decide which camera to active by detecting where the other party's eyes are on the screen. Redrawing people's eyes just seems like the wrong way to go about it... even if it looks perfect 99% of the time, the remaining 1% will freak the sh*t out of everybody.

Re:Tiny Embedded Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750079)

Theres a cheaper way...just set up a 2 way mirror at a 45 degree angle between the screen and the viewer. Put the camera below the screen pointed up into the mirror. Done.

S / u
where S=screen, u=user and c=camera

I'll pay for spirals. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749991)

...or maybe anime eyes.

Apple Patent For Moving the Camera from 2009 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44749995)

here [appleinsider.com]

Solving a nonproblem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750175)

Laptop cameras are so fuzzy, there is no way to know where the user is looking anyway...

Brought To You By N.S.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750387)

Sure enough we have ways of storing all your Skype streams forever, suckers. Along with all your gmails and pervert sex pictures.

We'll use it as soon as you voice dissent and a nice little honeytrap with an underage girl needs to be set up. Your fucking fault you fell into the same trap as Admiral Yamanoto. Should have listened to Richard Stallman, idiot.

Which is false reality.. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44750411)

Most people do not make Eye contact when talking, people look at the other persons mouth mostly aiming the eyes at the center of the face. direct eye contact is seen as agressive even in the human species.

Re:Which is false reality.. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750991)

Are you Asian or just extremely beta? This is certainly not the case for caucasian adults. Look people in the eye if you want serious intimacy or job promotions.

Re:Which is false reality.. (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 7 months ago | (#44751097)

I suspect that watching the mouth move improves the comprehension of speech, even if you can't lip read.

Re:Which is false reality.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44751881)

And your suspicion is correct, there's an auditory illusion based on just that principle.

Re:Which is false reality.. (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 7 months ago | (#44752005)

The mouth and nose area are also important indicators of (micro)emotion ( http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2011/05/facial-expressions.aspx [apa.org] ), which could explain why many people (and women especially, I've noticed) regularly glance at that area when they are talking themselves. I believe it is to gauge the emotional reaction of the conversation partner to what they are saying.

See also:
http://theconversation.com/face-value-where-to-look-when-you-want-to-read-someone-11219 [theconversation.com]

Video of what we wish we were seeing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44750967)

This is a great idea! For too long, we've been limited to looking at video of what other people actually look like instead of what we wish they looked like. Don't stop with just adjusting where they're looking. How about making her tits a bit bigger? Are you talking to a guy? Probably will need some more work done. Adjust the hair, pouty lips, boob job: much better!

Why stop with video? The audio could use a little touch-up too. Insert "Wow, [username], that's so insightful and funny!" every time there's a lull in conversation. Does the other person keep repeating lame sentences like "Dude, why do you keep looking at my chest?" Replace them with some sultry sweet nothings.

Welcome to the brave new world of adjusted video chat!

Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44751109)

Like so many "advances" this is yet another one that is completely pointless. A waste of time and money all to assuage our egos and sense of self. Who cares about all this petty stuff when there are real issues out there! They're on the call talking to you already, does it really matter if they're not following your "eyes" or the center of your face? Another case of first world problems strikes again. *shrug*

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44751201)

Finally I can stare tits freely during conversation.

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