There is exciting technology being developed in Germany and because of an impromptu meeting at the recent CTIA Wireless Conference in New Orleans, I'm one of the lucky ones to have my own personal 3D Face Avatar. All it took was a photo of my face and some computer wizardry.
It was engineered by DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH, or DOCOMO Euro-Labs, which is the Munich, Germany-based research arm of NTT DOCOMO, a Japanese mobile communications operator based in Tokyo. They also have offices in Silicon Valley and Beijing.
According to their website, they are one of the world's largest mobile communications operators, with more than more than 59 million customers in Japan.
My avatar is in the form of a movie, and when explained by DOCOMO representatives, it demonstrates the ways this technology can “be creative” with the avatar’s face." But ideally, it would be a still image that suddenly comes to life with human-like expressions like smiling, winking, talking or even reading a text message.
I see personal avatars invading social networks, emails and other means of communication in the future, as well as films and gaming.
In addition to developing avatars, we can probably expect more cutting-edge technology from this European research company. Their website hints at research being done in future cellular networks and optical technologies.
There are other options available for 3D Face Avatars, such as the 3D PhotoFace technology that can take an uploaded image and modify facial features. Another approach uses Microsoft's Kinect sensor techniques to scan the face and apply animation.
As 3D face animation technology continues to emerge, we can expect more development and fine tuning as companies like DOCOMO explore the potential of personal avatars.
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