New Software Makes Skype Chats Way Less Awkward

Everybody who’s ever done a video chat has felt the frustration. You call your pal using Skype or whatever so that you can see their face and they can see yours, but whoops you’re not even looking at each other. You’re looking at the screen so your eyes are slightly off-centre. Annoying! But maybe not for long.

As a team of Swiss researchers have just taught us, this isn’t a problem that some smart software can’t fix. Facial recognition experts from the the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH in Zurich are perfecting a program that does away with the awkward off-centre eyes problem by spotting the face in the frame and rotating it slightly so that the person appears to be looking directly at the camera. Essentially, the software cuts the face out of the frame and adjusts it in real time so smoothly the person on the other end of the call won’t even notice. Check out this video of the software in action.

These Swiss whizzes are hardly the first to think of this idea, but they’re the first to do it with conventional equipment. Other methods require different software, multiple cameras and even mirrors. But the team from ETH says they’re working on making their solution so simple that it will even work on smartphones. So that means we could be looking at a new and improved FaceTime. Maybe people will actually use it then. [PhysOrg]