Imagine chatting with a friend over Skype. Except that what she sees is you mirroring her expressions. When she smiles, your face smiles. When she frowns, your face frowns.
But here's the thing: you are not actually smiling or frowning. A piece of software is changing the image of your face to make it look that way.
A new video system developed by researchers allows a real-time transfer of facial expressions from one person to the image of another. How does it work? Watch the video. You'll see the image of the person of the left changing in sync with the person on the right as he or she smiles or speaks or grimaces.
Named "Real-time Expression Transfer for Facial Reenactment", the project is a collaboration between researchers from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics, and Stanford University. They released the footage above, alongside the paper on the project in September.
The paper describing the technology says, "Imagine a multilingual video-conferencing setup in which the video of one participant could be altered in real time to photo-realistically reenact the facial expression and mouth motion of a real-time translator. Or imagine another setting in which you could reenact a professionally captured video of somebody in business attire with a new real time face capture of yourself sitting in casual clothing on your sofa. Application scenarios reach even further as photo-realistic reenactment enables the real-time manipulation of facial expression and motion in videos while making it challenging to detect that the video input is spoofed."
The possibilities are probably endless.