An infinite number of facial expressions can be created from a single picture. Its eyes rotate and lips move. It smiles and cries. A familiar face gazes and talks at you in unfamiliar ways.
An image processing technology with such capabilities is drawing attention as a promotional tool on the Internet in Japan. MotionPortrait Inc, a subsidiary of leading Internet provider So-net Entertainment Corp, developed the technology.
Since established in July 2007, the company provided the technology to more than 30 companies, including cosmetic firm Shiseido Co Ltd and shaver company Schick Japan KK, as a sales promotion tool. Also, it has been used in various kinds of software for home game consoles. The technology, which deals with human faces, one of the most familiar objects to us, is now making consumers interested and have a sense of affinity.
The image processing technology is a brainchild of Sony Corp's Kihara Laboratory, which was closed in 2006. It was established by Nobutoshi Kihara, the company's former senior managing director who developed the first tape recorder and household video tape recorder in Japan.
The laboratory is also famous for developing technologies for PlayStation 2, Sony's home game console. Its image processing and computer graphics technologies are about to blossom again with Internet technologies.